Education Supporters Packed The House

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More than 120 parents, residents, teachers, staff and some students, many proudly wearing their “I Love Public Education” T-shirts, filled the auditorium at John Lewis Childs School on Monday, March 9, for the public board meeting on the Floral Park-Bellerose School District (FPBSD). The theme of the meeting was in support of the FPBSD Teachers Association, who took their turn at the microphone to read aloud their prepared statement to the families of the school district.

The Teachers Association letter addressed many of the issues that Governor Andrew Cuomo’s education proposal would affect, including school aid, tax credits, standardized testing and teacher evaluations.

In addition, School Board President Laura Ferone read the board’s statement regarding its position on the governor’s recent education proposals, which will be given to local legislators and forwarded to the governor’s office. To see the both letters in their entirety, check out the Floral Park Dispatch’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/FloralParkDispatch) or the district’s website.

Public Comments

John Lewis Childs (JLC) School PTA President Everly Mineo addressed the board about the lack of snow removal and clearing of “johnny pumps” (hydrants) during the recent snow storms as dangerous. Mineo said she has researched several companies who would come to JLC and “for $450 they would come with a dump truck to remove snow from specific areas of the school,” which she had requested for the quoted price.

“I’m really upset [as a parent],” said Mineo. “I was saddened by the lack of this process.”

Ferone said she spoke with the department of public works several times throughout the recent storm segments. “I felt it was a real concern as well.” She agreed that the snow and ice removal should be a priority.

Mineo disagreed that enough was done to remove snow and ice hazards from the vicinity of the school.

Parent Stephanie Naronis addressed the school board, expressing her disappointment that she learned about the fifth-grade midterm testing from another parent. She said there was no advance notice given and “it’s this kind of nondisclosure to the parents and students which has upset me greatly.”

She asked what message administering a “pop midterm” is sending to children. “The midterms are in excess of assessments,” said Naronis. “I feel discouraged and disillusioned by our current administration, but I will not feel defeated.”

Parent Mary Ellen Convoy echoed Naronis’ statements. She said she was told by one of the teachers that “we didn’t tell the children because they cannot prepare for this test and we didn’t want to stress them out.”

Superintendent James Opiekun responded, “We underestimated how important it was to some people that there was a discrete announcement about this assessment.” He said there were only four students who opted out of the midterm. He said most parent inquiries about the “pop midterm” were satisfied with the

explanation of the unannounced testing to avoid stressing the students out. He said there are a couple of parents who still think the unannounced midterm requires “an extended discussion.” He disagreed. He said next year sufficient notice will be given.

Convoy said she believed if more parents knew there would be a midterm, more parents would have opted their children out of the test.

High School Report

Sewanhaka Central High School District (SCHSD) Board of Education President David Fowler announced that at the most recent high school board meeting a resolution was passed asking Governor Cuomo to release state aid runs for the purpose of budgeting. SCHSD also honored the valedictorians and salutatorians in the five high schools.

Fowler shared the news that the Floral Park Memorial boys’ and girls’ basketball teams had exciting seasons. The boys advanced all the way to Nassau County Finals – 16th seed.

The Floral Park Memorial musical, Hairspray, will be presented on Thursday, March 26, Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28. See the Dispatch community calendar of events for more information.

Phase II of the SCHSD bond work is set to begin in spring and continue through the summer.

The next Sewanhaka Central High School Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 24 at Sewanhaka High School located at 500 Tulip Ave. in Floral Park.

Wellness Committee

President Laura Ferone announced the renewal of the Floral Park-Bellerose District Wellness Committee. The committee’s directive will be to promote a school environment centering on children’s health and well-being. It will assess the district’s current activities, programs and policies, identify needs, revise and update policies and procedures.

The committee will consist of three parents from each school, a food service provider, a member of the board of education, a health coordinator and a district administrator. Volunteers are being sought.

Interested parents should forward a letter of interest to: District Clerk Marybeth Altobelli, One Poppy Place, Floral Park, NY  11001, by Wednesday, March 25.

The next Floral Park-Bellerose School District Board of Education workshop meeting will be held on Thursday, March 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the administration building at 1 Poppy Pl. in Floral Park.

The next public board meeting, which will also include a budget presentation, will be held on Wednesday, April 15, at 8 p.m. in the auditorium of John Lewis Childs School at 10 Elizabeth St.

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