After a four-month search for candidates suitable to replace Dr. James Grossane as Superintendent of the Levittown Public School District, members of the Levittown Board of Education have appointed Dr. Tonie McDonald to the position, effective July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017.
For McDonald, who is currently assistant superintendent of business and finance in the nearby Plainedge Union Free School District, the appointment was a warm welcome home to the Levittown School District, where she had previously worked as both an administrator and as a teacher for more than 10 years.
“I couldn’t be happier,” McDonald said of her return to Levittown. “There are so many amazing people who live and work there.”
To prepare for the upcoming school elections, the Levittown School District, on May 1, held a “meet the candidates” forum, where members of the voting public were given a chance to ask questions from each of the five candidates in the race.
The event highlighted several hot-button issues, including the school’s financial planning, the implementation of the common core learning standards, transportation, and the gap elimination adjustment.
Challenger Marian Adrian, a 1991 Division Avenue High School graduate, opened the forum with some concerns regarding the district’s proposed spending plan for 2014-2015 and its projections over the next five years.
“I am concerned that we plan on dipping into reserves for the next five years until it’s depleted,” said Adrian.
Following recent reports of a racially charged incident — surrounding allegations that an unknown Town of Hempstead employee intentionally posted a picture of a monkey as a hate-fueled reference of an African-American co-worker — town officials announced they will mandate new and intensive diversity training for all employees working at the Highway and Parks department facility in Levittown.
“We have united as brothers and sisters to say ‘NO’ to hatred in our communities,” said Town Supervisor Kate Murray. “We are speaking out, letting everyone know that acts of hatred will not be tolerated in Hempstead Town.”
The Levittown School District has put forth a $198.7 million spending plan, which, if approved by voters on May 20, will increase taxes by 4.01 percent next year for residents who did not file grievances this year.
On April 28, members of the Levittown Community Council, a civic group, invited Levittown Schools Superintendent Dr. James Grossane to speak about the budget and how it could affect both student welfare and parents’ wallets.
“We understand that taxes are very high; I live in North Merrick myself, and my property taxes have tripled in the last 10 years,” Grossane said. “The administration has worked very diligently to craft this budget for next year. We’re not cutting any programs, and we’re staying within our maximum tax cap.”
In celebration of Earth Day, members of the Levittown Community Council teamed up with the Town of Hempstead to host its eighth annual community clean-up day.
On April 26, residents from Levittown and the surrounding areas gathered their rakes, shovels and gloves and met up in front of OfficeMax by Hempstead Tpke. and Gardiners Ave. before getting down and dirty—picking up garbage and planting trees.
A sizeable chunk of Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown was closed off last Tuesday, after yet another pedestrian was mowed over while crossing the street.
According to police, 81-year-old Robert Chapman Sr. exited a NICE bus at Hempstead Tpke. around 5:45 a.m., and attempted to cross the street. Getting through the first two lanes unscathed, Chapman approached the third lane when he was struck by a 1991 Chevy
Geo Prism. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
After losing the first three games of league-play to Valley Stream North, the Island Trees Varsity Baseball Team has rallied, with a nine-game winning streak.
Although the Bulldogs had a rocky start, Island Trees Baseball Coach Joe D’Auria said, “they easily could have gone the other way for Island Trees.”
For D’Auria, the proof was in the pudding as the team showed its mental toughness and resiliency to win the following three games against Locust Valley.
With term limits set to expire for three positions on the Levittown Public School Board of Education, challengers have emerged, sparking contended races for two seats currently held by incumbent trustees Michael Pappas and Peter Porrazzo.
Backed by the district’s teachers union, the two newcomers—Marianne Adrian and Karen Smith—hope to bring a different perspective to the school board on issues surronding its fiscal planning and communication with the community.
“Having developed strong relationships with teachers, administrators, legislators and parents has not only been important to my children’s educational development, but for all of our district members,” said Adrian, a Levittown parent. “I am committed to making sound decisions and choices that will benefit all of the children in the Levittown Schools, and in turn relate them to the actual needs and requests of our families and community members.”
Dressed in their Sunday best, churchgoers came to the First Presbyterian Church of Levittown to take part in the biggest celebrated Sunday in the Christian year.
A special holiday calls for a special service, which was led by Reverend Terri Yvette Cissé-Ofori. There were flowers decorating the inside of the church as well as musicians playing their instruments throughout the service.
“Today is Resurrection Sunday,” said Cissé-Ofori. “Normally people call it Easter, but we celebrate the rising of Christ. We believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and he’s still alive.”
While Island Trees School District officials plan to reexamine a proposal to develop senior housing on 11.3 acres of property currently used to house the Stephen E. Karopczyc and Geneva N. Gallow schools, district officials have so far been unwilling to identify the developer.
The plan to sell the Farmedge property was first conceived in 2010, when BOCES dropped its lease on the Gallow school. The school district issued a request for proposals. After reviewing its options, the Island Trees Board of Education selected and presented to the
public a proposal to develop 160 to 247 housing units for seniors over 55.After public outcry against the project, the district said it would go back to the drawing board, re-opening discussions and engaging a wide range of stakeholders. However, despite requests from the public and the press, the district has steadfastly declined to identify the developer of the initial proposal—which may yet end up being the winning bid.
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