This year’s school elections proved to be a big one for the challengers in Levittown, with nearly every seat contested in each of the two local school districts.
In the Island Trees Union Free School District, a last-minute endorsement from the teacher’s union paired with an outspoken campaign, helped net the trio of Brian Fielding, Paul Giambona and Michael Rich three seats on the Board of Education.
“I was excited that so many people came out,” Fielding said. “It shows that when change is needed a small community can stand together.”
If it’s the merry month of May, than anyone who’s anyone knows that it’s time for the gala event of the year—the annual Island Trees Senior Citizen Prom. Hosted once a year at the Memorial Middle School, the prom is geared towards the community’s elder generation, to give them a chance to get out and shake their booty like it was high school all over again.
Linda Rincon is a life-long member of the Island Trees community. She herself attended school in the district, and her children are currently following in her footsteps. She is currently in charge of running the Senior Citizen Prom, which is sponsored by the Community
Awareness Program of Island Trees (CAPIT)—a 20-plus year-old organization that was formed just for this very purpose.
For two nights, MacArthur High School’s senior students took to the stage to perform an array of comedic sketches and musical/dance numbers as part of Levittown’s annual Variety Show. Traditionally, MacArthur High School seniors peform in the variety show to help fundraise for the senior class.
Billy Butler, a MacArthur senior and member of the Peer Leader dance number, said that participating in the show takes great commitment.
“No matter what else is going on, I know I have to be there,” Butler said of his rehersal schedule.
For veterans in Levittown—one of two communities built to house the many GI’s returning home from WWII—Memorial Day is a solemn occasion to pay tribute to those who have died in combat to preserve the American way of life and to honor those currently serving overseas.
Each year, to prepare for the forthcoming Memorial Day weekend, members of American Legion Post #1711 in Levittown start their ceremonies by flagging the graves of veterans at the Long Island National Cemetery in Farmingdale, followed by a remembrance service for those who died serving our nation, all leading up to the big parade on Monday.
Nearly 150 vendors from all across the state came to the old K-Mart on Hempstead Turnpike for the Levittown Fire Department’s annual two-day craft fair.
“We have vendors here from Staten Island to all the way out from the Hamptons” said Levittown Firefighter Frank Cacioli Sr. “It has been such a success every year.”
Each year, the parking lot fills up from end-to-end with kiosks, each one offering an array of knick-knacks—ranging from handmade goods—such as flattened wine bottles, stained glass, and jewelry—to seasonal plantings and garden decorations.
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.
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