Here's Sara's opening statement:
Thank you all for coming and investing this time in our community. My name is Sara Jones, and I’d like to spend the next three years working for our schools.
Thirteen years ago we moved to Sea Cliff to be a part of a community and to send our kids to North Shore Schools. We shopped for school districts and feel we made a great decision for ours kids. Our daughter has been at Sea Cliff School for five years, and I feel lucky to have been so involved there.
I think our schools are at a critical point, and I would like to bring my business experience and my commitment to this community to the school board.
I know there are a lot of issues people have expressed concern about lately but two seem particularly significant to me. The first is the financial situation. The tax cap along with mandated costs has already made it very difficult to maintain all our programs - arts, athletics, small classes. I’ve seen how cuts we’ve already made have affected us. And now we have the LIPA plant closing. This kind of changing financial environment is what I deal with as a business person every day and calls for creative, collaborative problem -solving. But the real work is to plan for events that may appear two, three – ten years down the road and to put things into place now so that we’ll be ready. I want to bring my skills to our district.
Second, the standardized testing that is going on is out of control. Schools need to be accountable. But we’ve gotten to the point where the cost of creating, preparing for and scoring these tests is too high. And the cost is too high for our students. We’re losing hours of instructional time to testing and test prep, and tested subjects are crowding out other subjects – particularly science and social studies -- in the lower grades and it is filtering all the way down to kindergarten.
I want to work with our community and other districts, to bring testing costs under control and to focus on providing students with an education that prepares them for a creative, productive future as citizens and not for filling in bubbles.
I want to be certain we’re doing everything we can to provide the best schools we can afford, and I want to be a part of the hard work that involves. Please vote on May 21st.