Stuart Kaplan and Seth Blau will each run uncontested for terms on the Oceanside School District Board of Education. Both candidates have set goals for their terms and recently answered questions based on issues facing the district.
Herald: What are your main goals and what major issues do you wish to address by becoming a member of the school board?
Kaplan: Right now, the main goal is getting the schools as close to normal as possible and prepare for a fresh start in September 2021. The pandemic was a challenge for all aspects of education at all levels. It is important we evaluate what we have learned as a district and apply it to our decisions as we move the district forward.
Blau: My main goals and issues for the future involve the continued safe physical return of our students to the classrooms and activities; the successful implementation of a state funded universal pre-k program to a limited number of students that will be selected through a lottery; and the successful implementation of an energy performance contract that will make the district’s buildings more energy efficient, thereby reducing its carbon footprint, at no additional taxpayer cost.
Herald: Are there any educational courses or curricula that you wish to see implemented that aren’t currently offered?
Kaplan: Our district is creating a new Culturally Responsive Education and Equity Advisory committee and examining enhancing curriculum to meet the needs of our students and providing awareness of additional curriculum opportunities available to them to enhance their educational growth.
Blau: I am very proud of the vast array of courses that are provided by the school district. This actually can cause an issue of students sometimes not having enough room in their schedules to take all of the classes they want.
Herald: How do you feel you would continue to work alongside the other fellow board members and superintendent?
Kaplan: While I have my own opinion on topics, I believe our board and our central administration functions as a team with a common goal of providing a solid educational experience for our students through curricula and activities, while being mindful and responsible to the needs of our parents and taxpayers in our community.
Blau: Over the past nine years, I have established an excellent relationship with my fellow board members, both current and former. Similarly, I have established an excellent relationship with the superintendent [Dr. Phyllis Harrington]. That does not mean I agree with every position and/or decision that someone has or is made. But there is a level of mutual respect with everyone. Once a decision is made, we move on. Running a school district involves teamwork. And I believe it is important that we be able to work together as a team.
Herald: Why do you think you have the experience necessary to be a good fit on the board?
Kaplan: As stated before, I have over 30 years of experience in education. I am extremely involved in curriculum growth and development. I monitor trends and initiatives at the local level of our Nassau County school districts, state education, SUNY, as well as working with colleagues from colleges and universities around the country.
Blau: I have the necessary experience to be a “good fit” on the Board of Education. Over the past nine years, I have been a part of the board for many different types of events. These “on-the-job” experiences, along with my professional experiences in labor law and human resources make me well-qualified to be on the board.