Northwell physician, financial adviser vie for Herricks BOE

Northwell physician, financial adviser vie for Herricks BOE
Shaheda Quraishi, left, and Eric Lo, right, are competing for a seat on the Herricks board of education. (Courtesy of the candidates)

Shaheda Quraishi, a Northwell physician and Herricks district graduate, and Eric Lo, a financial adviser, are running in the race for the Herricks Board of Education, in which seven candidates are vying for two seats.

Incumbent Trustee Brian Hassan is running for re-election and facing challenger Maria Bono 

Newcomers Quraishi, Lo, Surendra Gupta, Ravinder S. Ratra and Russell M. Stuart are all running for the seat left vacant by Trustee Nancy Feinstein, who is stepping down from the board after serving as a trustee for 12 years.

“As a physician from Northwell, I am uniquely poised to help facilitate [the partnership between Northwell and Herricks],” Quraishi said. “The mental health needs of our students is also a very, very big concern and I want to make sure we’re providing all the resources that we can to help our kids be the best that they can be.”

If elected, the lifelong Nassau County resident said her goals include improving the safety and security of students with additional security guards, improving cybersecurity efforts and improving the district’s partnership with Northwell.

Quraishi is no stranger to the district. She has lived in the Herricks district for nearly 40 years and has been in her current Roslyn home for five years. She has three children in the Herricks district: one in elementary school, one in middle school and one in high school.

“I had such an amazing experience in Herricks that I wanted my children to have the same opportunities, which is why I chose to live in the district,” Quraishi said.

The physician also works as an assistant professor at the Hofstra School of Medicine.

“I educate on a daily basis. I teach residents and medical students at my practice and I also teach at the medical school at the anatomy lab, so for me, educating our youngsters is the most important job that we have as a society and it’s definitely my most favorite part of my job,” Quraishi said.

She said her biggest concern for the district is growing enrollment, a financial stressor that she would hope to combat by maximizing state aid and federal grants.

Quraishi said she supports the board’s adopted 2024-2025 budget and believes the board is doing a good job of handling costs associated with child sex abuse lawsuits.

Lo is running against Quraishi for a seat on the board. He said he thinks the board is doing a good job of handling lawsuit costs and would like to work with board members on this issue.

Lo has been a Williston Park resident for six years. While Lo works as a financial adviser, his wife owns a coffee shop in Williston Park where he said local parents often come in and speak about their experience as district parents. The couple have two young children in the Herricks district.

“We do have a lot of vocal parents that come in to kind of talk about their experiences for their children—we do hear a lot of different stories,” Lo said.

If elected, his goals include improving school facilities, especially at the middle school, replacing outdated sports uniforms, lending his financial background to budget conversations, improving communication efforts between the board and district parents and better supporting district-wide sports and arts programs. He said he wants to act as a conduit for these district parents and their concerns.

“I do have two very young children in the district so we are going to have a number of years here,” Lo said. “Being in a position that we do have this establishment within the community, it allows us to really listen to a lot of the local parents all around, not just our elementary school, but elsewhere. The middle and high school.”

Lo said some of his biggest concerns for the district include CVA costs and student access to social media. He said he worries about cyberbullying and the spread of misinformation online among students.

“I think residents should vote for me because…I am here for the long haul,” Lo said. “I want to improve the experience for our students and, of course, hopefully the teachers as well.”

Efforts to reach Surendra Gupta, Ravinder S. Ratra and Russell M. Stuart were unavailing.

An issue top of mind for candidates is the large budget-to-budget increase included in the proposed budget.

Herricks School District board members adopted a proposed 2024-2025 budget of $141,710,364, which represents a 5.2% increase from the 2023-2024 budget of $134,719,970.

The proposed tax levy increase is 2.38%, which is within the state tax cap. The average tax levy over the past seven years in the district was 1.78%, Superintendent Tony Sinanis said.

Herricks is set to receive a larger increase in state aid than initially proposed, from 6.58% to 8.32%, according to the state budget adopted nearly three weeks late Saturday. It is unclear how the new state budget will affect the current adopted budget.

Board members said the larger-than-usual budget-to-budget increase was due in part to the cost of settling child sex abuse claims against the district filed under the Child Victims Act. The district has paid $1.1 million to settle four of the 21 claims thus far.

Residents are set to vote on the budget and elect two trustees on May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Herricks Community Center at 999 Herricks Rd., New Hyde Park.

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