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Editorial: Knowing Our School Board Members

In my position, it’s best to be neutral on the Plainview-Old Bethpage school board. I believe that the board members generally have the best interests of both children and taxpayers at heart and do their best; but I also know some residents are dissatisfied with various district policies, and I don’t ever want to seem to be trivializing those concerns. After all, every district has room for improvement, and I’m sure some of the trustees would probably be the first to agree with me.

However, in light of what’s been going on with Syosset Central School District these past few weeks, I wanted to let POB residents know something they might not be aware of: not every school board discusses important issues in public. Not every school board allows residents to ask any question they want during Public Participation. Not every school board features members who are candid about their opinions, or in fact even voice their opinions at all.

Just to pick a few board members at random, I may not always agree with what Ginger Lieberman and Angel Cepeda have to say, but I know who they are and where they stand on many important educational issues. That’s something residents of several neighboring districts just can’t say.

Professionally, I appreciate the fact that the board members will discuss things until late into the evening (personally, often I’d rather be home in bed with a book, but that’s my problem, not theirs).  Professionally, I appreciate the fact that ideas for interesting new courses and programs are discussed at some length, so I have something more interesting to write about than “Student X was given Y award” and “the board passed resolution 2973, contract with Tasty Cafeteria Services, and 35 other resolutions.”

Is the board perfect? No. Do some residents take it for granted? I think it’s a possibility. You don’t have to look too far from here to find districts where the board may as well be separated from residents with a cast-iron wall, and I’m pretty sure the members of the POB board would not put up with that: Good for them.