School Board to object to future state mask mandates

At this week’s Board of Education meeting, discussions over masks resurfaced amidst celebrations over student athletes and musicians’ fall semester accomplishments.

Board President Joe Sileo provided an update on masks. “After receiving a significant number of emails and letters from the community, the Board will be sending a letter to the state regarding parental choice as it relates to masks for both students and teachers, supporting their right to make individual decisions.”

Parents echoed concerns originally voiced in those emails and letters. Ryan Mulrooney of Hampton Road said, “I forgot it was sports night and was surprised by the crowd. And the concerts, it’s all an incredible testament to the kids in the community and the time and dedication they put in. But we also have to remind ourselves that a small set of bureaucrats can rip that away. They did rip that away. Games were canceled, kids were playing instruments through face masks. I’m glad to hear the Board plans to write a letter to the state. I’d encourage the administration to do the same and relay all the damage it did. These kids’ education was compromised.”

 Sileo confirmed the letter will come from both the Board and administration. “We’re making sure we’re giving our kids the best chance to succeed and appreciate your comments.”

Athletic successes

Athletic Director Eduardo Ramirez then stepped up to celebrate a wide range of wins across sports for the District. These included how Garden City’s cross country team is now division champs for the first time since 2012, its field hockey team is a NYS finalist for second consecutive year, the football team is a LI champ for the second consecutive year and broke its own Nassau County championship record. Not to mention, the team is currently on a 30-game winning streak. And finally on the swim team, the District now has five swimmers who qualified for the NYS championships. 

“This is how it’s done. I’ve never won so much. They’re not just great student athletes, they’re great people. I’m proud of them and thank them for welcoming me with open arms. Follow us on Instragram @gctrojannation,” said Ramirez.

Board Vice President Tom Pinou asked the student athletes, “What is the one thing that you learned that you’ll take with you throughout life? Tell your coaches, family members and peers.” Students cited teamwork, friendship, confidence, comradery, spirit, composure and communication. Post-practice diner trips were top of mind for many, too.

Dr. Sinha then discussed some recent holiday highlights during her Superintendent’s report. These include the conductor of the Phantom of the Opera in attendance at a recent GC student performance, to hear a collaboration between the orchestra and symphonic band that “left attendees in tears.” She also talked more about how Garden City’s high school concert and chamber choir traveled to the Radio City Music Hall for their own special performance. 

December is disabilities awareness, and the Superintendent shared an update on educational and inclusivity activities taking place across buildings. And while a new crossing light and stop sign have been installed on Cherry Avenue, she advises students to remain as vigilant as ever as cars drive by the busy street. 

Next up was the treasurer’s report. For October 2022, the District’s cash balance was $38,532,790, during the month we had receipts of $11,484,558, disbursements of $10,351,524. Garden City Schools closed the month with a balance of $39,665,824. 

Another parent, a science teacher in a different local district,  expressed discontent with the way the science program is run in Garden city. “I’m requesting as we look at the budget for next year we put some money into this because as of right now it’s hugely lacking part of our curriculum. I’ve seen my children do science. It’s worksheets, memorization — they’re not looking at inquiry. It doesn’t have to cost much. How about using a high school teacher to train faculty in the elementary school? Science is not the teacher going to the dollar store. It just can’t happen that way.” 

A couple key dates for the community to remember. Winter recess will begin on December 26 through January 2. The next BOE work session will take place on January 10, 2023 at the Garden City High School beginning at 7 P.M. It will cover the District’s reading and writing programs.

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