Valley Stream districts, local leaders unite to support public education

Valley Stream districts, local leaders unite to support public education photo

The Valley Stream component school districts and elected officials from the local and state levels gathered on March 10 during the 22nd annual Legislative Breakfast sponsored by the Valley Stream Council of PTAs. Attendees united with the common goals of preserving public education and advocating for actions that will support public school districts.

Members of the boards of education, administrations, staff and parent organizations from the Valley Stream Central High School District, as well as Valley Stream District 30, Valley Stream District 24 and Valley Stream Union Free School District 13, met at Memorial Junior High School for the event. Additionally, Memorial students Maryam Bacchus, Kaitlyn Gavin and Crystina Windham presented a statement advocating for changes to improve safety in schools. 

Council of PTAs First Vice President Michelle D’Elia provided opening remarks and welcomed a panel of political dignitaries comprised of Imran Ansari, Nassau County regional representative for Gov. Andrew Cuomo; Todd Kaminsky, New York State senator; Brian Curran, New York State assemblyman; Michaelle Solages, New York State assemblywoman; Matthew Hynes, senior advisor to Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen; C. William Gaylor, Nassau County legislator and Bruce Blakeman, Town of Hempstead councilman. 

Continental breakfast was prepared by the Valley Stream Central High School District Culinary Institute under the instruction of Peter Augello, and musical entertainment was provided courtesy of North High School’s Breakfast Club ensemble, led by teacher Rebecca Hayden and Director of Fine and Performing Arts Adam Erdos. Valley Stream Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts Troops 109, 116 and Pack 367 led the flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance. 

Discussion focused on funding public education. Specific emphasis was placed on state aid, the tax levy cap, testing, the state’s capital project approval process, unfunded state mandates and IDA reform. The political leaders introduced themselves and summarized efforts they have made in the past year to benefit their school districts, and then expressed their opinions and goals regarding education-related issues. 

 “The members of Valley Stream’s boards of education are universally committed to identifying actionable situations to improve public education in VS in order to better meet the needs of students, while also representing our taxpayers,” said John Maier, president of the Valley Stream District 24 Board of Education and vice president of the Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education. 

Valley Stream Union Free School District 13 Superintendent Dr. Constance Evelyn spoke on behalf of the school administrators. “We are here today because we remain united in ensuring the most excellent educational experiences that we can provide for our children, despite lingering and new challenges,” she said. “Our core business of teaching and learning must be preserved at the highest levels.”