Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 23 September 2011 00:00
Recently elected Board of Education President Anthony Edelman took some time to discuss his new post and what’s in store for the board and the district for the 2011-2012 school year.
Q: Describe your road to becoming the Hicksville Board of Education president.
Since 2006, I have served as a trustee of the Hicksville Union Free School District Board of Education and am Board President for the 2011-2012 school year. I also serve as an elected member on the Nassau Suffolk School Board Association Executive Committee and Legislative Sub-Committee, and remain very active in community, church, and other professional and charitable organizations. I am a graduate of the University of Phoenix with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and an Assistant Vice President at Bethpage Federal Credit Union, a community-based, full-service financial institution, committed to providing their members with extraordinary value and service, anytime, anywhere. I am married to Theresa Edelman; we have lived in Hicksville for 22 years, and our daughter Margaret graduated from Hicksville High School in 2010.
Q: Where do you think Hicksville schools have excelled the most? Where is there room for improvement?
Hicksville School District, under the leadership of Superintendent Bright, dedication of its administrators, and governance by the elected board of trustees, has maintained strong fiscal management within the constraints of continued stagnant economic growth, cuts in state aid, unfunded mandates (local, state and federal), and general anti-tax sentiment.
Adequate funding of reserve accounts enabled the district to present a budget to the Hicksville community that did not require inordinately high year over year tax rate increases, reduction in student programs, nor massive teacher layoffs, as was the case in many school districts this year.
This is the second consecutive year in which no material deficiencies were noted by any of our audit examiners.
Hicksville, like many communities, is a rapidly evolving demographic. We speak over 38 different languages, and coexist within a wide diversity of economic means and cultures. The poverty rate for students in our district continues to rise. Although the district has done a good job of meeting the needs of students- from those struggling to those who excel by implementing course work that stimulates creativity and develops critical thinking skills- additional progress is required in meeting state assessment goals. Ninety-five of our students received Regents diplomas and 95 percent of our students plan to go on to college.
Q: Please discuss any areas of interest for the upcoming year (new programs, construction, etc.).
This new school year brings many challenges. On the economic front, we will face continued unfunded mandates and the challenge of incorporating them into next year’s budget: loss of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 funding, increased TRS retirement fund contributions, certiorari responsibility shifting from Nassau County to local school districts, and a new sewer tax. Our most significant economic challenge for the coming school year will be to comply with the newly imposed tax cap and not negatively impact our children or our community. It is required that the tax levy must be 2 percent or CPI whichever is lower. There is no doubt that this will present a significant challenge that may require the district to make unwanted cuts to non-mandated areas, such as class size, extra-curricular activities and other areas.
APPR will redefine the assessment process for teachers and administrators. Beginning this year, every teacher and principal will receive a single composite effectiveness score leading to a rating of “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing,” or “ineffective” and will be based in part (40 percent) by student performance. This new APPR law acknowledges high performing teachers and administrators and seeks to identify poor performers. The new system establishes statewide concrete performance standards for classroom teachers. Implementation is a joint effort between central administration, the board, Hicksville Congress of Teachers, and Administrative Professionals. The first year of the implementation is designed for teachers of math and ELA grades four to eight. All teachers will be impacted in year two. The APPR plan will be adopted by the board of education and made available to the public on the district website.
Q: What are your goals as board president? Are there any noteworthy items for residents in the District?
We need the board to continue working in harmony with one another as a team. We are there to serve the entire community, to educate, and provide effective governance. I am looking forward to the collaborative process that makes our district great.