Nassau Executive Ed Mangano's "Mobile Office" van paid a visit to the on Thursday to hold a public question and answer forum with local residents, and several Lynbrook teachers voiced concerns over the financial hurdles school districts are facing.
The Mobile Office makes two stops a week at various public locations in Nassau County. Jill Fazzolare, assistant to the director of Constituent Affairs, said that this is a new concept that is getting results.
“We’ve been doing this since September,” Fazzolare said. “[Mangano] wants to bring the government to his constituents, and make it easier for them to reach out to him and voice their concerns and have them addressed.”
However, while several representatives of Nassau County government were present at the event to speak with residents, conspicuous by his absence was Mangano himself; a fact which had many guests who were expecting him there up in arms.
An upset resident was Jane Colgan, one of many teachers from the Lynbrook School District who attended the meeting in hopes of establishing a dialogue with Mangano regarding hardships they’re facing collectively.
“Our understanding was that he was going to be here, which is why so many of us showed up,” Colgan said. “We wanted to comment on how money is being taken away from the school districts on Long Island, while nobody is looking at big business or millionaires, who we feel should pay more taxes instead.”
Craig Kirchenberg is another Lynbrook teacher who feels his district faces severe financial hurdles.
“We have concerns about the two percent ,” Kirchenberg said. “Although that was not a County decision, it’s going to end up being a County problem, and we wanted to discuss its potential impact on schools.”
However, Kirchenberg had his doubts that his concerns will reach the ears of Mangano.
“Because the County Executive is not here, I don’t know if he’s actually going to hear from us,” he said.
Thomas Atkinson had stopped by the library simply to get some information regarding the New York State School Tax Relief Program (STAR), and seemed quite happy with the help provided to him.
“STAR is for senior citizens, and it gives you some relief from paying school taxes,” Atkinson said. “The County people answered all my questions, and they gave me an application for the STAR program, including a phone number to call. They were a big help.”
Aside from the Lynbrook teachers and a few other residents, overall turnout for the Mobile Office was light, something Fazzolare chalked up to the holiday season.
“We’re in the middle of Hanukah, and three days from Christmas,” she said.