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Letter to the Editor: Why Write In Donald Pupke?

Malverne school board member, parent and resident Gina Genti shares why she is endorsing the "write-in" candidate.

Why should you write in Donald Pupke for Malverne school board tomorrow?

My name is Gina Genti and I am currently serving my fourth year as a Malverne Board of Education trustee.  When I ran for this position initially in 2007, an important part of my campaign platform consisted of the need to open up lines of communication to the many different groups that comprise Malverne school district taxpayers. 

At the time, I had been doing exactly that through Project Enroll Now, an organization committed to getting accurate information about the school district to the residents of my village.  When I was elected, my hope was that through open communication by the BOE we could help groups of individuals get a better understanding of one another, thereby strengthening a fragile school district community.
It has become apparent to me and many others that communication and transparency is not a priority for the current leadership in our district.  In fact, I believe a concerted effort has been made by some to stifle both.  I have witnessed taxpayers being told to “zip it” as they tried to address the BOE; policies created to control information given to local news people and restrictions on how the school district attorney can be contacted by the board members they serve. 

In addition, I have been told that individuals denied employment by the BOE out of concern of perceived nepotism or cronyism have been put into school district taxpayer-funded positions, thereby disregarding a majority vote by the BOE.

Requests for information regarding everything from expenditures to legal counsel advice now take nearly a week to secure, because new policy crafted by the Board of Education dictates all requests must be funneled through the Superintendent’s office and that office needs to approve the communication before the information is provided to some board members. I could continue if I combed through my notes of the three years prior to this one.
All of the above is my problem and that of the other board members. I fully understand that many, many residents are not concerned with the inner workings of the board, but when the quality of education begins to deteriorate and the accountability of our finances is lax then we all have a problem. 

When numerous rumors persist about the high school curriculum and our grounds look like the off ramp of the Southern State Parkway we all have a problem. When all of our shortcomings become the fault of the State of New York, we all have a problem. When the answer to our funding shortfall is terminating teachers without a comprehensive look at plant operations we all have a problem.

When a simple request for a response from a senior citizen paying $6,000 a year in school taxes goes unanswered we all have a problem. When iPads are purchased for some administrators during a spending freeze without a lick of research or a memo indicating the need for them we all have a problem. I could continue if I combed through my notes of three years prior to this one.

On Tuesday, I will be writing in my vote for Donald Pupke and I am asking  residents of School District 12 from Lakeview, Malverne and Lynbrook, black, white, young and old, public, private and parochial to take the opportunity presented to change the direction we are going and do the same. Each of us owns this district. Its buildings and fields and most importantly, its reputation belong to all of us. 

I believe Donald Pupke understands that. I believe Donald Pupke understands the role of a community servant and the value of an efficient, respectful and transparent school district.  I believe Donald Pupke respects the opinions of all including those that differ from his. I believe Donald Pupke has the experience, humility and civility to fulfill the role of a BOE member and can work with members of the current board on the road to repair and respect. 

I am writing the name Donald Pupke on a piece of paper in my voting booth on Tuesday and I hope each of you do the same.

Gina Genti

Malverne School Board Trustee, Resident and Parent

Tom Grech May 16, 2011 at 07:58 PM
Ms. Berry Aren't people who choose parochial schools over the public school option just as equal as those that choose public schools? I believe there are over 700 children (someone correct me if inaccurate) who live in Malverne 12 who use schools other than the Malverne public school system; are the parents of these kids lesser in your mind?
Joyce Berry May 16, 2011 at 09:04 PM
Mr.Grech and others who feel this way. Whether your child goes to parochial school or public school. I believe as many others do that we are all treated equally. Isn't it sad to hear that over 700 children residing in Malverne do not even attend the public school. For whatever reason you choose to go to private rather then public is your choice,However, you are paying the Malverne school taxes, you are residing in Malverne community . Basically everything the town has to offer, more then likely is used by the residences except the public schools.Why!!!!! And just so you know I'm a Lynbrook resident and my children go to the malverne school,I'm verry happy and pleased with what Mr.Coonan has done.He has experienced all that Malverne has offered mainly the concern at hand, the public schools, so why change something that's not broken.Mrs. Berry
peter fehn May 16, 2011 at 09:47 PM
I will not be voting for someone who does not send their kids to the public school system...run for your private school board !!!!!!
Clioscribe May 16, 2011 at 09:57 PM
But it IS broken. Dr. Coonan has taken blatant advantage of his position to hire his relatives and give contracts to his friends. There is little or no fiscal oversight. He would rather lay-off teachers than administrators - he has not even asked his buddies in administration to freeze or reduce salaries to keep teachers in the classroom. Instead, he tries to go behind the taxpayers backs to make sure Hunderfund is paid his exorbitant salary. Mr. Fehn - I pay the same taxes as you do, I am less of a burden on the system than you are, and I care that YOUR children and all the children in the district get the best possible education to become members of the same community and society that I am a part of. I also want a good, strong, well-respected school district to enhance the value of my home. How can you say the education is getting better when the Valedictorian has a WEIGHTED average of 95?!?!?!? That is totally unimpressive. I am sure that young lady would have had an even better GPA if the school were serving her better!
Tom Grech May 16, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Mrs. Berry (sorry for the previous Ms. Berry) Why is it sad that some folks choose parochial schools? We live in a free society that allows us to have choice. But that does not preclude those who choose other options from having an interest, a right and a responsibility to make certain that funds allocated to public education are spent wisely......and Peter Fehn, previous posting.....see above.


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