Elmont UFSD Board of Education Meeting
I attended the Elmont Union Free School District Board of Education meeting which was held at the Stewart Manor Elementary School on January 16, 2007.As I walked in I immediately noticed that certain people sat in certain groups. I felt as though people were separated by invisible lines of demarcation. This feeling stayed with me throughout the entire meeting as I noticed that even the Board was fragmented.But before I begin to give my opinion of what took place at the meeting, Id like to say thanks to the members of the Board who give generously of their time and resources to a worthy cause the education of our children in the Elmont UFS District. These fine residents run for elections, and by doing so they are sometimes criticized and demeaned, not only by the general public but also by other Board members. But they serve anyway. So, thanks to each of you for your service.After the President called the meeting to order, the Board went through the minutes from the last meeting and then moved to the Agenda at hand. The meeting went smoothly until the Board was required to vote on Warrants. This is when a warrant which was not itemized caught the attention of Board Member, Aubrey Phillips. As discussion of the matter proceeded, members of the audience took the floor and gave their opinions about the hidden manner in which the warrants were presented and other matters. The Board President, Robert Nori, attempted to explain why the warrants were not specified with the help of the Boards attorney. However, the business of the Agenda was derailed as the fragmentation and disconnectedness of the Board members became very apparent. Statements were made by Board members with intent to antagonize and embarrass other Board members. Some Board members even reported that they used the Districts money (my money) to hire attorneys to bring action against another Board member although the Boards attorney, Mr. Nugent, advised against it.
As I left the meeting, I was disappointed. Several questions emerged in my mind. How can the Board work toward the higher academic standards of our children if it is split down the middle? Can we [I] sit back and watch as our childrens education is taken hostage by the personal prejudices and hostilities of some Board members toward others?What can I do to ensure that this Board will work with a single-mindedness required to help our children get an excellent education? Will this Board be able to join hands and work together in unity for the betterment of our children?I don't know the answers to all these questions. Time will tell. I do know that I intend to keep going to the Board meetings so that I am kept apprised of the Boards activities. Elections are also coming up in May 15, 2007 where three of the current Board members will be up for re-election. I intend vote and use my vote wisely. This will be my time to do what I can to fix this Board. I encourage you to do the same. Become active! Become alert! Vote!