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Long IslandEducation

Port Washington

BUDGET

SPENDING $160,556,916, a 2.96 percent increase from the current $155,938,460. 

TAX LEVY 2.88 percent increase, from $137,049,299 to $140,995,639. This is equal to the district's 2.88 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval. 

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes an average 0.5 percent contractual raise and a step increase that varies from 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent. The proposed budget adds the full-time-equivalent of just over four staff positions, including an assistant superintendent for general administration, an information technology specialist, FTE of 1.2 for the English as a New Language program, and a cleaner.

WHEN | WHERE

6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School, all-purpose room. www.portnet.org

CANDIDATES

Deborah Abramson-Brooks, Jonathan Geisler, Robert "Bob" Young and incumbent Emily Beys are running for two seats, elected at-large. Terms are three years.

Deborah Abramson-Brooks

BACKGROUND Abramson-Brooks, 56, has lived in the district for 15 years and is a former Nassau County assistant district attorney. She received her bachelor's degree in international relations from Tufts University and her juris doctor degree from University of Pennsylvania Law School. Abramson-Brooks said she has been a full-time advocate for public education and student data privacy for the last six years. She co-founded Port Washington Advocates for Public Education and serves on the steering committee of NYS Allies for Public Education. She also has been a member of other related groups, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's advisory Common Core Task Force. She has one child attending district schools.

KEY ISSUE The "detrimental impact" of what formerly was known as the Common Core curriculum, state standardized testing and the privatization of public education. She said she is a leader of the opt-out movement and helped prevent the storage of student data on a cloud system through a petition. Abramson-Brooks said she seeks to create "whole-child education" initiatives in which curriculum meets children at the individual's level. "I understand children learn differently; I value all types of learners and will work to ensure our teaching staff endeavors to find the talents and gifts residing within each student."

Emily Beys

BACKGROUND Beys, 53, has lived in the district for 24 years. She has a bachelor's degree in political science from New York University. She spent years as a member and officer for parent organizations in the district that support Paul D. Schreiber High School and Weber Middle School. Bey's efforts included volunteering on various committees, including the Safety and Substance Abuse Committee and the Budget Committee. She also has supervised parent interview teams for the selection of school administrators. She has two adult children who attended Port Washington schools. Beys was elected to the board in 2016 and chairs the Policy & Personnel Committee.

KEY ISSUE Funding and shortfalls in foundation aid. "Having served as chair of the Legislative Task Force, we have advocated on behalf of Port Washington to our legislators (on) what makes Port unique: growing enrollment, diverse population, with most of the tax burden on its residents … I would like to continue to educate and advocate on behalf of the school district to further increase our state aid."

Jonathan Geisler

BACKGROUND Geisler, 45, has lived in the district for 10 years. He is department chair and associate professor of anatomy at New York Institute of Technology. He has bachelor's degrees from the College of Charleston and both master's degrees and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has one child in district schools. 

KEY ISSUE The lack of community input. Geisler said board meetings are lightly attended and voter turnout is low. He wants to implement several initiatives to put voters "in the driver's seat" and grow board transparency, including through greater parent outreach, requests for the public to submit meeting agenda items and creating online surveys for feedback on district plans and budgets. "With greater involvement, the BOE can confidently tackle the larger curricular and fiscal challenges that are affecting many Long Island districts."

Robert Young

BACKGROUND Young, 60, has lived in the district for 30 years. The management consultant has a bachelor's degree in atmospheric science from Cornell University and a master's of business administration in finance from New York University. His three children attended district schools, and one works with special-needs students at John J. Daly Elementary School. 

KEY ISSUE "The performance of the Port Washington school district has been going down and down, yet we're spending more and more," he said. Young said he does not support the proposed budget because of the nearly 3 percent increase. He said he would identify ways to get costs under control, including by outsourcing some facilities management work instead of hiring employees for those jobs. He said he supports performance-based merit pay for teachers.

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