Unlike too many Americans, I continue to believe that the outcome of elections does make a difference, often a very stark difference. The election of three members of the Plainview-Old Bethpage School Board on May 19th is a case in point.

For the past few years, the PCT and the Board of Education have worked to transform the pattern of labor/management relations in our district. Where once we were seemingly in a constant state of crisis, in recent times we have managed to find ways to bridge our differences, avoiding the confrontations that have tended to sully the outstanding accomplishments of our schools. The recent episode concerning the proposed firing of a physical education teacher at the Mattlin Middle School is the clearest recent example of the degree to which things have changed. Cool heads on both sides managed to wrestle with a growing crisis that once upon a time would have gotten out of control. In the end, a solution was found, one without lasting damage to our schools.

On May 19th, the citizens of Plainview-Old Bethpage will elect three members of the Board of Education. It is vitally important that the people elected are committed to furthering the habit of peace that has developed in our district. Difficult problems certainly lie ahead. There is the need to expand our schools to accommodate the expected increase of some 600 students. Next year, we will sit down to negotiate a new contract between our union and the District. Difficult questions about how to meet the new state standards will have to be addressed. Will these issues be addressed in a climate of cooperation, with a commitment to finding ways to meet the needs of all? Or, will we go back to slugging it out as we did for so many years when no one won, not the Board, not the staff and, above all, not the students.

The answer to this question will be determined on May 19th. Candidates for the Board must be evaluated carefully if we are to get the correct answer.

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