We are Iranian Jewish immigrants, longtime Great Neck residents and senior citizens. We are writing to urge everyone to get out and vote Yes for the school budget and Yes for the bond referendum on May 16.
We moved to Great Neck in 1972 with our young children and were drawn here primarily by Great Neck’s incredible and nationally renowned public schools. We have loved living in this beautiful town with its parks, its proximity to Manhattan and its mix of cultures.
All of our children have reaped the benefits of the Great Neck Public Schools (GNPS), its excellent education and many extracurricular activities, and proudly graduated from North High School prior to their college and post-graduate careers. We have also enjoyed many interesting adult-education classes offered through the GNPS over the years.
Even after our children graduated out of the school system, in regards to our school taxes, we always share a metaphor that our town “fed us when we were hungry, and now that we are full, it is our duty to feed them.” Having lived here for two generations, we pride ourselves on the fact that our children came back to Great Neck after college to raise their own children here as well. We, together young and old, need to vote Yes to the budget and bond referendum and make sure our schools and town continue to remain a community that young families come back to, not stay away from. Whether your children go to private or public schools, whether or not you even have any school-age children, simply because you live in Great Neck and care for our town to maintain its beauty and excellent schools and to ensure that our real-estate values remain strong, we still urge you to vote Yes. We all know firsthand and from the Realtors, investors and builders around us that superior public schools and high real-estate values clearly go hand in hand.
What we are seeing and hearing now, in regards to different groups of people in our community belittling public education and making up blatant lies regarding the bond offering, budget and Board of Education, shocks and saddens us. We’ve gotten calls and emails telling us to vote No to anything and everything involving the public schools; calls and emails with no substance or facts, filled with a bunch of lies such as grossly inflated school taxes and misappropriated funds by the Board of Education. These are all baseless and fabricated for the sole purpose of urging us and others to vote against Great Neck’s excellent public-education system.
How can this be happening and how are people believing this nonsense? Spreading lies and devaluing public education is terrible and immoral. It both frightens and disheartens us to see strong opposition groups armed with propaganda designed to mislead people and change this town for the worse.
Together, let’s keep our beautiful town on top and embrace the diversity and change around us while still embracing the consistency of our public school system and town’s excellence.
We must all vote Yes for the school budget and bond referendum on May 16. Remember—a Yes vote means a beautiful Great Neck!
—Dr. Ebby and Mrs. Rachelle Ferri Ohebshalom