I would like to publicly thank the members of the Board of Education, Great Neck Public Schools administration and members of the Great Neck community for an earnest effort to support our public schools in the recent Bond Referendum. I am deeply concerned by the failure of the school Bond Referendum in our community. As a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee, I participated in more than 40 hours of review of bond projects, presentations to various arms of the community, Board of Education presentations, building-level Shared Decision Making Committee meetings and extensive outreach efforts along with countless other parents and leaders.
In the end, despite these efforts by the Board of Education, administration and members of the Advisory Committee, many voters still seemed to misunderstand the difference between a Bond Referendum and an Annual Operating Budget, and the costs associated with each. It would appear, too, that some voters have also taken their worries and frustrations with county, state and federal taxes out on this bond vote.
Based on the social media frenzy and several misinformation campaigns, it seems some voters were not particularly interested in separating facts from fiction, either. The rise of social media definitely was a factor in this campaign, as it will be in all aspects of public life. Social media allows anyone and everyone to wage their own campaign, with a virtual megaphone, as everyone knows. This is a new constant in all our lives.
From my perspective, if there is any silver lining beyond the relatively small margin between Yes and No votes, it is that more voters are engaged than ever; many of those who did not vote surely will regret it; and, hopefully, more will become involved in the future. Great Neck remains a singularly wonderful place to live and work. We will all have to come together to secure its future for the sake of all of Great Neck’s children and all of our investors in property on this peninsula.
—Rebecca Yousefzadeh Sassouni