Toch, Chen re-elected to Great Neck Board of Education

Toch, Chen re-elected to Great Neck Board of Education
Trustee Steve Chen and Vice President Grant Toch ran unopposed in an election to continue serving on the Great Neck Board of Education. (Photos courtesy of the Great Neck School District)

Great Neck re-elected board of education members Grant Toch and Steve Chen in the school district’s election Tuesday, both of whom ran unopposed, passed its $282 million budget and voted to establish a new capital reserve fund.

The district’s $282 million budget, which includes a 3.26% tax increase that falls within the allowable tax cap, received more than 82% of the vote, with 1,529 in favor and just 318 against.

Toch received 1,522 votes and Chen received 1,543 votes.

Toch, who serves as the board’s vice president, was elected in 2021. This will be his second term on the Great Neck Board of Education.

Chen was appointed to the board in September to fill the vacancy left by long-serving trustee Barbara Berkowitz, who had resigned in July. This was Chen’s first election and will be his first full term.

Both will serve a three-year term that concludes June 30, 2027.

Toch and his wife moved to Great Neck in 2005 and have three children. Two of his children are still enrolled in the school district, and the third is attending college.

Toch, a financial service company investor and former tax lawyer, previously chaired the United Parent Teacher Council Budget Committee for about nine years.

He previously told Blank Slate Media that he sought re-election to continue giving back to his community – a pursuit he said he finds personal joy in. He said the school district is a facet in helping to unify the greater peninsula.

With a new term, Toch previously said he seeks to foster greater similarities between the district’s north and south schools, continue investments in social and emotional wellness for students, and aid in unifying the greater community through the schools.

Chen, a 12-year resident of Great Neck, has two children in the school district.

He started his career as a certified public accountant and now operates his own property management company. He serves as the co-president of the Great Neck Chinese Association and has been a seven-year-long leader in the Great Neck Cub Scouts.

Chen said he approaches his role on the board with a broader, global perspective by taking in facts presented to the board and being thoughtful and detailed in his consideration to make the best decisions.

He previously told Blank Slate Media that with another term on the board he aims to continue educational excellence, broaden alternative post-graduation options for students and expand mental wellness support.

The establishment of a new capital reserve fund received 1,546 votesin favor or 84.34% of the total votes, and 287 votes against it.

Maximum contributions to the reserve are capped at $40 million, and annual contributions are capped at $8 million. The remaining funds from the district’s expiring reserve fund account established in 2015 will also go toward the new reserve fund.

The establishment of the capital reserve fund does not come at an expense to the voters, Toch said.

The use of funds from the capital reserve would need to be voted on by the community and designated to specific projects in the vote.

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