Toch, Chen run unopposed in Great Neck BOE re-election bid

Toch, Chen run unopposed in Great Neck BOE re-election bid
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 Board of Education Vice President Grant Toch and Trustee Steve Chen are running for re-election this May in an uncontested election.

Toch, a financial analyst and tax lawyer, first ran for a spot on the school board in 2017, ultimately dropping out of the race. Former Trustee Jeffrey Shi was then elected in a contested election against Nikolas Kron.

In 2021 Toch was elected to the board in an uncontested race.

Toch volunteered on the United Parent-Teacher Council for 13 years before joining the board, along with serving as an alternate on the Great Neck Estates Zoning Board of Appeals and as a board member for Temple Beth-El.

He has served as a chairperson and member of the district’s United Parent-Teacher Council’s Budget Committee.

Chen was appointed to the board in September to fill the vacancy left by long-serving trustee Barbara Berkowitz, who had resigned in July.

Chen has two children attending Great Neck schools. He has served as a leader in various roles throughout the community, including as co-president of the Great Neck Chinese Association where he was a liaison to the Rotary, the Board of Education and the district’s Asian American Pacific Islander curricular initiative last school year.

This would be Chen’s first election since being appointed to the board.

Both Toch and Chen are seeking another three-year term on the board, which would begin July 1 and end June 30, 2027.

Efforts to solicit comment from Toch and Chen were unavailing.

The school district’s election will be held from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on May 21, with polling locations at Elizabeth M. Baker Elementary School, Lakeville Elementary School, Great Neck South High School and Saddle Rock Elementary School.

Also up for a vote is the school district’s $282 million budget, which includes a 3.26% tax increase that falls within the allowable tax cap.

Community members will also be voting on a proposition to establish a new capital reserve fund, which would be a new reserve account to fund future capital expenditures over the next 10 years. This comes at no cost to taxpayers.

The 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 would also go toward the new reserve fund if adopted by the voters.

If established, the use of those funds for specific projects would also need to be voted on by the community.

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