John McGrath at the March 29 Mineola Board of Education meeting.
Some have suggested that as board president I should have stopped the obvious campaigning; I apologize. In the interest of decorum (I am also running for re-election) and important meeting time, I chose to drop rather than challenge the campaign talk. Certain comments made recently by Mr. McGrath, however, must be addressed directly.
Mr. McGrath’s choice to announce his run for the school board as he sat on the dais of the board of education was questionable. The content of the announcement might have included the words “children” and “education.” Instead, we heard something that amounted to a veteran board member running to settle a score with a new candidate. How disappointing to know that seems to be the real reason behind Mr. McGrath’s candidacy, particularly in light of the many challenges we face in education today.
With regard to Mr. McGrath’s insistence that he was not against consolidation, I find his statements are, at best, an attempt to spin history. It is well documented that the district with the advisement of the Community Committee for Consolidation, made up primarily of 30 community parents and residents. Over countless hours, many ideas were proposed, investigated, and researched.
Three emerged as solid plans, and in the spirit of compromise, based on solid logic and reason. That’s the difference. Mr. McGrath had an “idea” of . He presented that “idea” to the media with no prior discussion with our community, let alone the Herricks and Mineola Boards of Education or their superintendents. His “idea” was just that, a personal thought. Last year, when I asked him at a public meeting of the board of education to articulate a solid plan, ” Well, the community is still waiting.
One of Mr. McGrath’s statements was particularly bothersome. He claimed that local employers have told him “ graduates require an ‘inordinate’ amount of training.” Training for what, exactly?
McGrath’s comment is anecdotal, irresponsible, and insulting. Ninety-two percent of our students from the attended college immediately upon . A number of our students receive vocational training through excellent programs at BOCES. Mineola Union Free School District college acceptances last year included Harvard, Cornell, Carnegie Mellon, John Hopkins, Holy Cross, Columbia, Boston College and Penn State. I challenge Mr. McGrath to provide evidence of such a claim.
It reminded me of a time when Mr. McGrath’s argument for merging with Herricks was that Herricks would get the benefit of our commercial base, while we would get the benefit of the “prestige” of the Herricks school district. Puzzling that a board of education veteran of so many years would speak so poorly of our own students. I am very proud of our students and proud to be a part of the Mineola School District.
Though remarks through the media are certainly one way to campaign, I remind residents that which is a unique opportunity for residents to see and hear all the candidates’ positions.
Christine Napolitano is currently the President of the Mineola Board of Education. The views expressed in this letter do not necessarily reflect those of the board of education, its other individual trustees, or the Mineola Union Free School District.