Written by Jill Nossa Thursday, 17 October 2013 00:00
The Glen Cove School District Board of Education discussed the first draft of their district goals for the current school year at the board meeting held on Oct. 7 at Robert M. Finley Middle School, and listened to the public about their thoughts on the testing investigation that is still underway.
Several retired teachers came to the meeting to express their concerns about how the investigation has been handled, and implored the school board to put an end to the process.
“We are appalled that a confidential investigation was somehow leaked to the press,” said Leona Del Valle. She noted the “hard evidence” used against teachers was statements of 10-year-olds, which she said are likely not accurate accounts
considering the time between testing and the questioning by investigators. “Why has the board of education not disposed of this manner swiftly? We ask the board to please end this prolonged distraction and get on with your real business - the education of our children.”
“The toll that has been taken on our colleagues is indescribable,” said retired teacher Ronnie Lavine. “These are master teachers who give their blood, sweat and tears to this district; the ordeal they have been put through, they will never recover from...they are broken. This has got to come to an end so they can finish out their careers with pride and dignity.”
Another resident spoke about the proposed disciplinary actions and said the potential penalties the teachers could face “far outweigh” the allegations; he suggested the board seek new legal advisors.
While the board has not been able to speak too much on the matter, some members felt compelled to offer as much explanation as they could regarding their stance.
“We are behind our teachers 100 percent,” said Trustee Richard Maccarone. “We want to fire our attorneys...we are trying to protect the teachers and keep the state from getting them.”
“All these parties are already in it,” said Donna Brady, board president, explaining it is not so simple as just putting it to an end.
Alison Gasparello asked whether or not they have identified the source of the leak; Rianna said they are still looking for the source.
“What you do is not easy but it is valued,” said Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, addressing the board. “No doubt you try to do what’s best for the community, and the children...but how was it that Guercio and Guercio got hired in the first place?”
Brady said the firm got involved after the State Dept. of Education did their investigation.
Some of the goals for the board of education include continuing the development of Common Core curriculum in grades K-12, ensuring programs meet needs of all children and challenge them appropriately, manage finances in a “responsible, effective and transparent manner” which includes reducing legal fees, make sure the school facilities are safe and secure and increase communication of district news. The list of goals will be updated and refined and will be finalized at a future meeting.
The board also accepted donations of two trees from the Glen Cove Booster Club to be planted in the area of the high school football field; they will be in memory of Tess Rizzo and Kenneth Spy. A $25,000 donation from the Herman Auerbach Fund to support curriculum enrichment, trips and special events in K-2 for the current school year was also accept, with appreciation from board members.