Great Neck BOE candidate tackles ‘rumor mill’

Great Neck BOE candidate tackles ‘rumor mill’
Nikolas Kron

When Nikolas Kron appeared at last week’s “Meet the Candidates” event, he described himself as a pro-public school professional consultant and real estate investor who could bring financial expertise to the Board of Education.

But he also alluded to a growing level of distrust in the community, highlighting the existence of a “rumor mill” that he said was propagating falsehoods about where he stands on various issues like the bond, budget and private schools.

“It’s very difficult when you’re running a campaign and people are putting words in your mouth,” Kron said. “So let me just state it here: I am 100 percent behind the public school system, I’m 100 percent behind the budget, I’m 100 percent behind the bond and I believe our district has been very financially well run and managed.”

It was a four-way fight for Lawrence Gross’s seat on the board between Kron, Jeffrey Shi, Grant Toch and Michael Golden until the latter two dropped out last week. The other race, for Susan Healy’s seat, is between Rebecca Sassouni and Ilya Aronovich.

One Facebook post, shared with North Shore Hebrew Academy parents, asked them to support Kron, a NSHA parent, in the special Board of Education election on Dec. 6. Donna Peirez won that seat.

“The Public Schools provide all private schools with tech, books, nursing and special ed services. We want this to continue and expand,” the post reads. “Nik wants to shake things up, reassess spending and ensure yeshivas get fair share of support.”

Kron said that the comment has largely been taken out of context and spawned false allegations. Fulfilling state obligations to private schools does not mean sacrificing the public school system, he said, and that post was simply meant to get people to come out and vote.

“I have a simple primary message: Keep GNPS strong — pass the budget, pass the bond. I have a secondary message, too — reach out and both educate and listen to the non GNPS community to let them know that we hear their feedback and in some cases their financial pain,” Kron said.

Kron, who has three children in the public school system and one at North Shore Hebrew Academy, described himself as someone in a unique position to reach out to both sides of the public-private school debate.

Reaching out is also pivotal, Kron said, because there is mutual distrust. Many parents in the private schools feel the public schools may not be fulfilling their obligations while putting a high burden on them, he said, while many public school parents feel private schools are aiming to defund the school system.

“There’s a great deal of animosity on both sides,” Kron said.

Additionally, Kron said that it would be unwise to isolate nonparents and private school parents from the conversation about the school system.

“We, the current GNPS community, only account for about 25 percent of all Great Neck homes. We therefore need to rely on the support of the rest of the community to pass our budgets and bond proposals,” Kron said. “The moment we alienate the 75 percent, we run the risk of losing everything.”

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  1. Rebecca Sassouni and Jeff Shi are to be congratulated on their victories in the School Board vote. They deserve the community’s support.

    It must be said, however that Nik Kron’s defeat was in large measure his inability to beat the “rumor mill”. Nik could not have been more outspoken in his support for the Budget, the Bond proposal and public education. Despite this fact, the undercurrent about one of his four children attending North Shore Hebrew Academy was too strong. A pre-election letter by Democratic leader Steve Markowitz alluding to Kron’s “parochial concerns” is just one example. Karen Rubin’s op-ed in Nik’s support was not enough.

    This is not the first time the same rumor mill has played a part in our community. When I ran for the Library Board a decade ago, the stories circulating were “Great Neck will become the next Lawrence” and “Spitalnick wants to close the Library on Saturday”. This despite my public school background and living in this town since 1965. Indeed, the same Steve Markowitz spoke against my candidacy from the pulpit at Temple Israel on Yom Kippur.

    This phenomenon has a name. Attacking observant Jews as such is an attack on all. Some soul-searching is in order.


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