Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly referred to Claire Hochheiser as “a teacher and administrator in Jericho Schools.” Hochheiser, who has worked in the Hauppauge School District as the Director of Pupil Personnel and Support Services from 2008 to the present, did work in the Jericho Schools before 2005, but was never on the Board of Education and an employee of the district at the same time.
Seven candidates vying for positions on the Jericho and Syosset School Boards described their qualifications and perspectives on educational issues at the monthly meeting of the Birchwood Civic Association at the Jackson School, April 22nd.
Questioned as to whether she felt she could continue to be an effective school board member since her children no longer attend the Jericho schools, incumbent Barbara Krieger, seeking re-election, said, “I don’t think that’s relevant. Since I don’t have children in the system, I don’t worry about repercussions of decisions I make on behalf of the community.”
Krieger said that wihout having child care issues she has flexibility to attend workshops and seminars to enable her to maintain her independence; she noted that she has on occasion voted against school administration proposals or requests.
Another Jericho Board incumbent, Claire Hochheiser, said she had “teamed up” with Gina Levy, who is seeking her first term on the Board, since their positions were similar on key issues.
Asked whether Hochheiser,who has worked in the Hauppauge School District as the Director of Pupil Personnel and Support Services from 2008 to the present, recused herself from Jericho School Board deliberations involving administrators or teachers, Hochheiser said she did not.
“You don’t feel this is a conflict of interest?” the questioner asked. “No,” she answered.
Running for the Syosset School Board, Bill Weiner, the only non-incumbent on the Syosset ballot, said he stood for “more transparency” and more involvement of the community in School Board meetings. “Syosset Board members have a history of not allowing discussions” at the Board meetings, he said. He added that none of his three opponents, all current Board members, have brought up any “new discussion items” during their tenure and suggested they were rubber-stamping School Administration decisions.
BCA Board Director Richard Turkisher peppered the Syosset candidates with questions about the controversial salary of former Syosset Superintendent Dr. Carole Hankin, asking each incumbent whether they had raised any objections.
The incumbents—April Neuendorf, Laura Schlesinger and Michael Cohen—responded that they had “frozen” the superintendent’s salary for the past four years, and credited her with helping Syosset maintain its positive reputation.
Attending the meeting and talking about the school budgets for the coming year were Jericho Superintendent Hank Grishman and newly appointed Syosset Superintendent Dr. Thomas Rogers, former Superintendent of Nassau BOCES, who replaces the recently-rretired Hankin. Also commenting on the budget was Interim Syosset Superintendent Ron Freedman.
Grishman said that the proposed budget for the Jericho School District contains a “zero-percent tax levy increase.” He noted that voters will be asked to approve spending of existing reserve funds which will be used to perform asbestos abatement work in the high school auditorium and upgrades to security systems in all schools.
Dr. Rogers said that the proposed Syosset budget represents the lowest budget increase in twenty years Voting for School Board members and for school budgets takes place On Tuesday, May 20th.