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Long IslandNassau

Port Washington school district


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


The district proposes a $144,919,392 budget for 2015-16, a 0.59 percent increase from the current $144,067,917. The tax levy would rise 2.38 percent, from $129,436,320 to $132,522,571.

This increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 2.38 percent, so a simple majority vote is required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 2.3 percent, from $11,647 to $11,912.

The district is negotiating contracts with its teachers and clerical staff unions. The district plans to cut the equivalent of 2.6 full-time teaching positions. Four full-time teacher positions will be added, as well as two new sections in special education and English as a Second Language.

District website:


Incumbents Lawrence Greenstein and Nora H. Johnson face challengers David Sattinger, Elizabeth Weisburd and James Ansel for three at-large seats. Terms are three years.

David Sattinger

BACKGROUND: Sattinger, 52, is a first-time candidate. He is a self-employed garment manufacturing and sales agent and holds a bachelor's degree from Binghamton University. He previously worked for the League of Conservation Voters. He has lived in the district for 11 years and has one son attending the middle school.

ISSUES: If elected to the board, Sattinger said he would work to implement a foreign language program in the elementary schools, create a comprehensive digital literacy program districtwide and establish a gifted and talented program incorporated with a state-mandated English as a New Language program. He said he was among the residents who tried to defeat a $70 million bond in March because he would like the board to be more transparent and negotiate better with its unions to save money. "Educational professionals need to come together to put the needs of the children and their programs first," Sattinger said. "I feel like we [the district residents] are being caught in the quicksand with our bargaining units."

Elizabeth Weisburd

BACKGROUND: Weisburd, 42, is the co-president of the Carrie Palmer Weber School HSA and on the board of the Athletic Association of Port Washington. She has lived in the district for 17 years and has two daughters attending the middle school and a son in the high school. She was formerly a behavioral therapist for children with autism. She holds a bachelor's degree from Clark University in Worchester, Massachusetts.

ISSUES: Weisburd said she would work to better integrate the students who are not native English speakers and students who are in special education classes into the community. She said she would like to implement a more standard curriculum across the district to make sure students from all of the elementary schools have the same opportunities. "I think we could look at programs that we already have and make them better and more cost-effective," Weisburd said. "The fact of the matter is that we live in a tax cap world and these are attainable goals that we can achieve now."

Lawrence Greenstein

BACKGROUND: Greenstein, 61, a self-employed certified public accountant, has been on the board since 2006 and lived in the district for 29 years. He's on the executive board of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association and a chairman's circle member of the Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. He has two sons who are graduates of the district.

ISSUES: Greenstein said he would advocate for more local control of the schools and try to eliminate state mandates he believes are preventing the district from implementing new programs. He would like to expand technology offerings as auto shop and work to establish a new middle school for at-risk students so they are more prepared for the high school. "We need to save them before they get too far behind," he said.

James Ansel

BACKGROUND: Ansel, who asked his age not be reported, is a retired construction project manager and former civil engineer. He holds a bachelor's degree from Queens College. He has lived in Port Washington for 25 years and has three adult children who are graduates of the district.

ISSUES: He said he would negotiate better terms with the district's employee unions, including trying to restructure some of the fringe benefits teachers receive. He would budget more money on enhancing the curriculum instead of the school facilities. If elected he would advocate for more transparency during the budget process and reining in construction costs, and better manage contracts, especially with architects. "I would concentrate the budget on education, more group learning and smaller class sizes," he said.

Nora H. JohnsonBACKGROUND: Johnson, 62, a community volunteer and jewelry designer, has been on the board since 2012 and has been serving as vice president for the past year. She is on the board of directors of the Port Washington Education Foundation and is president of the Community Chest Scholarship Fund. She is the mother of three children, one of whom attends the middle school. She holds a law degree from Hofstra University, and two bachelor's degrees: in nursing from Columbia University and in English from the University at Buffalo. She has lived in the district for 13 years.

ISSUES: Johnson said she would advocate to get rid of unfunded state mandates and help the district find new ways to deliver individualized education, even as class sizes grow. She said more computer technology courses need to be available, and the district should try to expand career-oriented programs such as auto shop for students who might not go to college. She plans to expand a mentoring program she established that pairs retired teachers and community residents with at-risk elementary students and to better address the emotional needs of students districtwide. "We need to address the needs of a very wide range of kids with a limited budget," she said.


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