My name is Grant Toch and I am running to succeed Larry Gross as a trustee, in the finance position, on the Board Of Education (BOE) for the Great Neck school district. As a trustee, I promise to continue my tireless advocacy to maximize the resources provided to our district’s students and teachers while simultaneously promoting financial stability, responsibility and transparency. This promise I make is supported by an eight-year record of working on your behalf with the BOE and teachers to solve some of the most pressing financial issues facing the school district. The election for the finance position on the BOE provides me an opportunity to ask for your vote so I may continue to advocate on your behalf in a more far-reaching and influential role.
My wife, Nicole, and our three daughters have lived in Great Neck for 11 years. Our daughters, ages 6, 9, and 13 all attend the Great Neck Pubic Schools. My daughters’ public school background and that of my own allow me to appreciate the critical role it plays within our community, the value it provides currently to our students and the need to continuously enhance its offerings and stature.
Professionally, for the last 15 years, I have been a financial analyst for several hedge and mutual funds investing primarily in financial service companies and sovereign government bonds. In this capacity, I spend considerable time working closely with some of the largest and smallest publicly traded financial-service companies and sovereign governments around the world, predicting financial results for investment purposes and providing my advice for their operations. Prior to becoming a financial analyst, I spent four years practicing tax law. I possess an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan, a law degree from The George Washington University and an MBA from Columbia University Graduate School of Business.
My community involvement consists of both our school district and youth sports. I have been a substantial contributor to the United Parent-Teacher Council (UPTC) for eight years, first as a member (2009–12) and then as chairman of the UPTC Budget Committee (2012–present). In addition, I have been on the UPTC Executive Board, both as treasurer and recording secretary, for the last four years. I have also recently been appointed to the BOE’s newly created Financial Advisory Committee (FAC).
As both member and chairman of the UPTC Budget Committee, I have represented your voice advocating on behalf of the district’s students and parents so that maximum resources are brought to bear, enabling every child to have an opportunity to achieve his or her maximum potential, while safeguarding the financial stability of the district and its employees. My impact can be seen today as the bond offering currently proposed originated with the Budget Committee back in 2009.
This has not been an easy task, particularly against the backdrop of the Property Tax Cap legislation. Starting from 2009 and using my proprietary financial model, we demonstrated to the BOE, teachers, parents and students that the budget trajectory was unsustainable long-term, short of large tax or other revenue increase, or significant increases in class size, and this was before taking into account the significant underinvestment made by the school district in its own physical plant.
Since that time, we have consistently recommended that the district undergo a comprehensive strategic review, from a physical plant, substantive offering and financial perspective, performed by an independent third party in preparation for a bond offering. The bond proceeds were to be invested in a manner consistent with the independent strategic review, allowing Great Neck to build the school district of the future, while simultaneously funding the bond without a tax increase and placing the school district budget on a sustainable long-term trajectory. As the bond offering is coming closer to reality, albeit absent the comprehensive strategic review, I have spent considerable time educating parents and teachers about the bond offering and its impact on our district, and assisting the BOE on the substance of the bond and its messaging to the public about the bond.
In addition to assessing the bond offering proposed by the BOE and its potential impact on taxpayers, the school district and its taxpayers face other financial issues which must be balanced against the need for it to preserve and enhance substantive offerings and protect employees. As head of the Budget Committee, I have spent considerable time working with the BOE and administrators and other school districts addressing issues such as the low inflation environment that results in the largest expenditures growing at rates in excess of the budget itself, the increasing likelihood that uncontrollable expenditures will increase significantly, placing substantial pressure on our budget and our taxpayers, and additional capital expenditures required but likely unaddressed by the proposed bond offering.
I ask for your vote to become a trustee on the BOE in the finance position because I am the only candidate with a demonstrated record of working with the school district’s BOE, teachers, parents and students to find solutions to these pressing financial challenges while preserving and enhancing the district’s substantive offerings and protecting employees. With young children in the district, I am committed to preserving and enhancing our school district and community for a long time to come.
Thank you for your consideration.
—Submitted by the candidate
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