The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.
To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.
At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.
The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also. Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.
The Village of Great Neck has adopted an eight-month moratorium on processing and issuing permits for on-site smoking businesses within the village. Mayor Ralph Kreitzman stated that the purpose of the moratorium is to stop any more such businesses (such as the hookah lounge) from opening. When the hookah lounge, expected to go into the “wedding cake” building on Middle Neck, received approval, the highly controversial topic of outdoor smoking eventually caused the hookah lounge manager to negate the outdoor smoking approval.
The moratorium is geared to prohibit new permits where there is to be smoking on premises, as well to preclude permits for the sale of tobacco and other such “smokeable” products intended to be consumed on the premises.
Since Sharok Jacobi once again failed to show in Village of Great Neck court last Wednesday evening, Nov. 20, Judge Jon Mostel sentenced him “in absentia.” Jacob, who had been convicted of 17 potentially life-threatening violations of health fire and safety codes, was sentenced to 45 days in jail and ordered to pay $17,050 in fines. While Jacobi’s attorneys, who were at the court proceeding, will seek an appeal and a stay, the judge stated that if Jacobi does not return to the United States and surrender to the Nassau County Marshal’s office within 30 days, a bench warrant will be issued for his arrest.
Should a stay be granted, the bench warrant cannot be issued.
The Policy on Computer Network and Internet Acceptable Use for Students and Staff is being reviewed by the Great Neck Public Schools Board of Education. Following much discussion and research, a policy revision is being considered. A first reading was introduced at the October school board meeting.
The revision addresses the following: the ever-evolving ways in which technology is used to work and communicate and its prevalence in everyday lives (while still recognizing the need to protect the safety of the district’s students through compliance with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Children’s Internet Protection ACT (CIPA); and as well, the need to protect the integrity of the district’s computer network.
The common core standards that Long Island school districts have been rolling out since New York State adopted it in 2010 has been the subject of controversy, criticism and outrage. State Education Commissioner John King has been making rounds across the state at local forums, appearing at Mineola High School on Wednesday, Nov. 13 along with Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch. Seventh Senate District Senator Jack Martins moderated the talk.
"I was disappointed that Commissioner King could not modify his agenda, even in the face of compelling and congruent concerns," said Great Neck Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Dolan, who attended the meeting. “He promises a reduction in testing, yet we have seen none.”
A pretty much one-of-a-kind brush fire swept through Kings Point Park this past weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 16 and 17. Kings Point residents coming home Friday evening, Nov. 15, had reported smelling smoke; one resident said she thought rubber was burning.
By Saturday morning, it was obvious a fire was burning in the area and smoke could be seen from various points. Kings Point authorities said the thought is the fire might have started in a pit; the fire was both underground and a brush fire right above-ground.
Village of Kings Point Deputy Mayor David Harounian was issued a summons in late October charging him with harassment of Great Neck resident Joanna Cronin while both were attending services at Temple Israel.
Cronin has alleged that Harounian approached her and made inappropriate comments to her and also forced her to touch her own chest after the services were over.
An eight-month moratorium on conditional use permits for on-site smoking businesses in the Village of Great Neck Plaza has been adopted. Plaza Mayor Jean Celender and the board of trustees approved the local law to call for the moratorium to enable them to take the time to do an analysis of businesses in the downtown area. Having applied to the Nassau County Planning Commission, the village was informed that the decision to adopt the moratorium would be “left to local determination.”
The law states that the village found that many studies “documented the harm that is caused by smoking tobacco products” and that there are “other smoking activities which appear to be comparably harmful yet which may be insufficiently regulated.” The moratorium cites that hookah smoking “appears” to be associated with medical conditions, suggesting that “cigarette smoking and hookah smoking have similar effects …”
The mayor and the trustees were definitive that any plan is far from final at this point. Neither has the board revealed its own position; the trustees want to hear from the public first. The mayor noted that he was eager for a “public consensus” and would not only assure website, press release and newspaper notices or stories that would announce meetings and hearings but that he would also notify local builders, property owners and architects of the meetings, and as well notify others who had previously shown a strong interest in these areas.
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