Weighing The Candidates In The School Board Election

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This school board campaign has been a sad chapter in my time as a Great Neck resident. The amount of passion on the topic is truly remarkable, but unfortunately, paralleling our national elections, much of the campaign has turned unnecessarily nasty.

I have spent more time and energy than I should admit thinking and talking about the school board election in the past several weeks. I have carefully weighed all of the criteria, all of the concerns, and I can say with confidence that Nik Kron deserves to be elected.

Mr. Kron is an intelligent, articulate, highly qualified candidate for the board. He has a very good understanding of the actual duties of the board, because he has been a regular attendee and participant at board meetings. Mr. Kron has also been a highly involved parent with his three public school children. Mr. Kron has been involved in an endless list of activities within the district.

Mr. Kron’s work experience is exceptionally relevant to board duties—he spent about 20 years at one of the Big 4 firms doing business consulting, looking at business structures, business costing and other such executive-level functions. Mr. Kron must have done exceptionally well as he was invited to relocate from Dublin to New York to consult for some of the world’s biggest companies. He is now self-employed, which gives him the flexibility to succeed at the highly ceremonial aspect of the position: attending the many school events in all of the buildings in all grades, from pre-K art exhibitions to high school drama productions. Mr. Kron recently led a North Middle Midnight Run, handing out clothes and food to the homeless.

Mr. Kron has four children. I believe each of them has gone private for elementary and public for middle and high school. This fact has been the disqualifier for many public school families. I am puzzled as to how somebody with three children in the public schools right now could be considered anything less than fully committed to the complete success of the public school system. There is a screen shot circulating of a Facebook quote about “shaking things up” and “reassessing spending.” Many people have considered this the “smoking gun” that Kron is anti-public school. I decided to pick up the phone and call Nik. He has been readily available to speak to anyone that would like to speak. Mr. Kron explained to me that he moved to Great Neck mainly based on the public school reputation, wants to see his property value rise and couldn’t be any more supportive of the budget, bond and the school system in general. The screen shot was not his or his wife’s words, his wife clicked “like” on another post that somebody else had written in support of Mr. Kron. Mr. Kron states that he is against any financial move that will damage our public school district in any way. I have no reason to believe Mr. Kron is lying, and I question anyone who does.

Mr. Kron was also open about having personal familiarity with special education. This is extraordinarily important to me in a candidate. Special ed programs are often seen as unnecessarily costly and I am happy to see that Mr. Kron values and wants to improve our special-ed services. I know a strong position on special ed is important to many voters.

Mr. Kron also made it clear that one of the things that separates Great Neck from other districts are the non-academics. Arts, athletics, the impressive number of clubs at the upper schools, and he has actually attended many events with these clubs and understands the value they bring. As mentioned earlier, Mr. Kron personally participates in many extracurricular activities.

Despite Mr. Kron’s impressive credentials, he has been maligned, accused of carrying a “hidden agenda.” His qualifications have been completely ignored by many school and community-based organizations that have decided anyone having anything to do with private schools cannot be supportive of our public schools. These groups and individuals have instructed the voters to vote for the “pro-public school” slate. This obviously implies that Mr. Kron is anti-public school, which is just flat-out wrong.

In summary, we have a highly qualified and experienced candidate who knows the ins and outs of the district and the breadth and depth of its programs. A candidate who loves the Great Neck Public Schools district and is 100 percent supportive of its continued success, who has been the recipient of false rumors and negative press. I have no hesitation in voting for Mr. Kron as the candidate with the most relevant qualifications for our Board of Education.

—Neal Picker

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