A press release U.S. Rep. George Santos sent out regarding the Great Neck School District’s 2021 budget vote and election date was riddled with falsehoods, according to individuals the congressman named in the release.
The district’s election and budget vote were scheduled to take place on May 18, 2021, the same date as the Jewish holiday Shavuot.
State law requires school districts to hold their elections on the third Tuesday in May, but due to the conflict, the district requested that the date be changed to May 11.
The district, in early March, filed an emergency appeal with the state to change the date, which ultimately was granted.
Santos, fresh off a loss in the 3rd District election against former Rep. Tom Suozzi at the time, tweeted out the release on “George Santos for Congress” stationery on March 14, 2021. The release was titled “Jewish voter suppression in New York.”
In the release, Santos cited “sources” that former board President and current Trustee Barbara Berkowitz said she “was not aware of the importance of May 18th to the Jewish community and accused a fellow board member who was allegedly responsible for clearing the calendar date.”
Santos said the unidentified board member “claimed that she did bring up the scheduling conflict to the board, who stated nothing could be done below the state level.”
Berkowitz told Blank Slate Media on Tuesday she was “outraged” by the claims made by Santos.
“I just read thru the entire press release he issued and can tell you that like all the other statements Mr. Santos has made, this one, too, is filled with too many outright blatant lies to even begin to know how to correct,” Berkowitz said in an email to Blank Slate Media Tuesday. “It was one more piece of garbage that Santos used for his rise at-all-cost to acquire his current position. I’m sorry, but this piece of garbage is scarcely worth resurrecting at this point in time except to further rile the Great Neck Jewish community because of Santos’ untrue claims!”
Berkowitz defeated challenger Michael Glickman in the board’s 2021 election.
District Superintendent Teresa Prendergast said, at the time, the district regretted not filing the appeal earlier as they did not know they were able to make the request to the state Department of Education. She also said the district reached out to state officials to aid in getting the date moved.
Santos, again citing “sources,” said the district reached out to former state Sen. Anna Kaplan who “stonewalled the issue, refusing to get involved or provide guidance to the board on which state entities they may be able to reach out to.”
Kaplan introduced legislation to help the district change its budget vote and election date the day after Santos’ release was published. The former state senator’s bill passed both houses after one week and was signed into law on April 6.
“This wasn’t the first time that George Santos lied to the Jewish community, and it certainly wasn’t the last,” Kaplan said in a statement to Blank Slate Media Tuesday. “I was proud to have passed emergency legislation at break-neck speed amidst the busy State Budget season to correct this obvious problem facing our community in Spring 2021, and I was proud that as a result of my advocacy to the State Education Department, no voters in our community were disenfranchised.”
Santos has been the subject of multiple investigations on various levels for lying about his personal, professional and financial background since being elected to the 3rd Congressional District seat in November.
Efforts to reach Santos or a campaign representative were unavailing.