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.
Malverne School Board Trustee, Resident and Parent