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Long IslandEducation

Port Washington


6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School.


The district proposes a budget of $151,222,964, a 3.13 percent increase from the current $146,639,452. The tax levy would increase 2.33 percent, from $129,840,471 to $132,859,467.

This increase equals the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority would be required to pass the budget. The district said the amount of school taxes on the average single-family home is not available because final assessment figures were not provided by Nassau County.

The proposed budget calls for a 0.5 percent increase in salaries for teachers, on average, and a 1.7 percent step increase for teachers, based on placement.

It includes multiple new positions: two administrators, two noninstructional staff, and 15.4 teachers. There are no planned reductions.


Candidates Rachel R. Gilliar, David C. Kerpen and Peter Smith are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Rachel R. Gilliar

BACKGROUND: Gilliar, 41, is an attorney with a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a law degree from the University of Michigan. She has lived in the district for eight years. She has four children; two of them are school-aged and attend district schools. Gilliar is the director of Camp Invention, a STEM-focused summer camp for children in grades K-6.

ISSUES: Gilliar said the district faces “tough problems ahead” such as how to continue to provide the highest quality education to children amid strong budget pressures. As a mother of four young children, she said she has a “heavy vested interest” in the district’s future. Gilliar said her experience as a former consultant and attorney would help her research a topic with due diligence in order to make informed choices. If elected, she said she would work to restore funding for the district’s enrichment program. “I think enrichment is important for ... all different kinds of learners,” she said.

David C. Kerpen

BACKGROUND: Kerpen, 40, is the chief executive of a software company for small businesses, and co-founded and chairs a social media marketing agency. He is a former math teacher in New York City schools, and he has a bachelor’s degree from Boston University. He has lived in the district for seven years and has two children attending district schools.

ISSUES: Kerpen said his key priority is maintaining ongoing funding to support the school district. As a business owner and former teacher, Kerpen said he has a “unique perspective” to add to the school board. If elected, he said he would work to improve the lines of communication between parents and the school board, and more effectively use technology and social media. Kerpen said he has “creative solutions in mind” which he’d reveal if elected, but overall, he said he’s seeking to “bring a more entrepreneurial way of thinking into the way we manage the schools.”

Peter Smith

BACKGROUND: Peter Smith, 50, runs a construction management company based in Port Washington. He has lived in the district all his life, attending district schools. He received a bachelor’s degree at the University of Massachusetts. He serves as treasurer of the Port Washington Business Improvement District, president of the Vikings Sports Foundation, and as a commissioner of girls lacrosse at the Port Youth Activities. His two daughters attended district schools before transitioning to a private high school.

ISSUES: Smith said that along with assisting the board on “progressing the curriculum,” his goal is also to boost the sports program. He said he has worked closely with the district’s athletic department in his roles in Port Youth Activities and the Viking Sports Foundation. He said he would also draw upon his years in construction management to help guide the board through the current bond process and subsequent years of construction.

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