The Island Now

Readers Write: Grant Toch for G.N. school board

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Posted: Thursday, December 1, 2016 10:39 am

My name is Grant Toch and I am running to succeed Monique Bloom as a trustee for the Great Neck School District Board of Education.  

As a trustee, I promise to advocate tirelessly to maximize the resources provided to our school district’s students and teachers while promoting financial stability and transparency.  

This promise I make is supported by an eight year record of working on your behalf with the Board of Education and teachers to solve some of the most pressing financial issues facing the school district.  

The special election for the board of education trustee 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.

By way of background, my wife, Nicole, and our three daughters have lived in Great Neck for almost 11 years.  

Our daughters, ages six, eight, and 12 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.  

My community involvement involves both our school district and youth sports.  

I have been a substantial contributor to the United Parent-Teacher Council for eight years, first as a Member, 2009 to 2012, and then as chairman of its budget committee  from 2012 to 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. 

As both member and chairman of the UPTC budget committee, I have represented your voice advocating on behalf of the school district’s students and parents so that maximum resources are brought to bear, enabling every child to have an opportunity to achieve their 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 our proprietary financial model, we demonstrated to the district that the budget trajectory was unsustainable long term, short of large tax or other revenues increases, or significant increases in class size, and this was before taking into account the significant underinvestment made by the district in its own physical plant. 

We recommended the district undergo a comprehensive strategic review performed by an independent third party in preparation for a bond offering, the proceeds of which were to be invested in a manner consistent with the 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.

In addition to assessing the bond offering proposed by the board of education and its potential impact on taxpayers, the 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.  

I have spent considerable time working with the board of education and administrators addressing issues such as:

1. the ongoing annual structural deficit position the School District annually must close prior to the completion of its budgeting process; 

2. the low inflation environment that results in the largest expenditures growing at rates in excess of the budget itself; 

3. the increasing likelihood that uncontrollable expenditures will increase significantly placing substantial pressure on our budget and our taxpayers; 

4. additional capital expenditures required but likely unaddressed by the proposed bond offering.

I ask for your vote to become a trustee on the school board because I am the only candidate with a demonstrated record of working with the district’s board of education, teachers, parents and students to find solutions to these pressing challenges while promoting financial stability, preserving and enhancing district substantive offerings and protecting employees.  

With young children in the school district, I am committed to this community and these causes for a long time to come.

 

Grant Toch

Great Neck

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