2004-05-21 / Editorial/Opinion

End of School Year: More Questions Than Answers

End of School Year: More Questions Than Answers

An era will end on June 17 at Middle School 198 in Arverne. On that evening, Community School Board 27 will hold its last meeting. There are those, including the mayor and the chancellor, who will say that they are glad to see the boards go and that they look forward to the new Community Education Council’s that will replace them. We are not counted in that number. While a number of recent school boards were corrupt, the District 27 board always did the right thing for parents, children and even educators. That board, led for the past several years by Breezy Point resident Steve Greenberg, is to be congratulated for the yeoman service it provided to this district. Greenberg came to the board as an appointee of the chancellor’s after the entire school board was suspended more than a dozen years ago. He leaves as an orphan kicked out of office by a mayor who seeks absolute control over all he surveys. The school year ends with many of the questions that were asked at the beginning of the year still unanswered: questions of curriculum and testing; questions of governance; questions of administration and teachers. For example, at the end of this year, if rumor is to be believed, none of the middle school principals who finished the year prior to this one at their school will still be in place. Beth Longo was replaced with Angela Logan just before the year begun, by all accounts, a disastrous move by Region Five supervisor Kathleen Cashin. George Giberti, the principal of Middle School 198 left the school last Friday to take a job as principal of Amityville Middle School after a year-long attempt to get rid of him for political reasons. Giberti has some problems early in his career in this district, but turned out to be one of its best administrators. He will be missed, especially if he is replaced, even for one year, by somebody of Logan’s ilk. The following year, MS 180 will become a district gifted school and we understand that Brian O’Connell, now the principal of the district’s flagship school, PS 114, will be moved to the middle school. We understand as well, that Kenneth Graham, the principal of Middle School 53 in Far Rockaway has been told that he will be gone at the end of the year as well, replaced by another of Cashin’s friends. A number of elementary school principals have been replaced as well, and there is a promise of more to come prior to the opening of school next September. What will the wholesale changes mean? That is the question, only one of many that will face our schools in the coming year.

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