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Opinion

Regarding the school bond issue, the contrary opinions voiced to date appear to be influences by misinformation attributable to BOE members Zimmerman/Sussman, illustrating reprehensible conduct. Their whispering campaign creates significant adverse exposure for Port Washington, for years to come.

Opinions favoring the BOE approved plan: specifically designed and detailed to accommodate projected enrollment, education mandates and curriculum enrichment lost to creeping overcrowding; eliminates existing overcrowding and inequities; compensates for decades of failure to adequately plan and invest.

Opinions favoring the Zimmerman/Sussman plan: "believed to" provide same benefits; "trust them," "why pay more."

Opinions opposing the BOE plan: "too expensive," "wait and see," "it ain't broke, don't fix it," referred to unrelated county tax issues; misunderstood (or purposely distorted) capital versus operating budget issues.

Opinions opposing the Zimmerman/Sussman plan: generalized, purposely non-specific plan and assumptions, unverifiable claims and costs; undeniably fails to meet the goal of adequately accommodating undisputed enrollment increases, mandates and curriculum restoration; preserves facilities inequities and overcrowding; continues to house impressionable middle schoolers in close proximity to high schoolers.

To summarize, the Zimmerman/Sussman theme is identical to what we saw in the recent BOE election and operating budget votes, a vocal minority waging a fuzzy, frail, disinformation and whispering campaign of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt, designed to inflame "wedge" issues in the community.

Why would Zimmerman/Sussman take this view? One of the opposition BOE members has no children in the district. The other has children who have left the district or in a grade ahead of the wave of further overcrowding all those juniors will experience.

Recently, the Zimmerman/Sussman campaign leafleted (actually, littered, as defined in a complaint to the PWPD) the train station. They pursued "advisory board" positions with community groups inclined to defeat the bond on the basis of low-ball costs they quote or based on a sad and unfortunate "I've got mine, let everyone else fend for themselves" outlook. Such an "advisory" role is an obvious conflict of interest and abuse of position on the BOE, and their actions confirm the divisive intent of these two as well as those backing their plan.

Let's be clear. This is an opposition campaign that wants in the worst way to advance their opinion and will do and say anything toward that end. Based on their record to date, we can expect more whispers, more dis-information and even greater abuses of position and process in the weeks ahead. Don't be fooled by this shameful performance!

Every parent has the right to choose the school which best suits their child, however, it only benefits all children and the entire community when our district facilities are on par with other highly regarded districts on Long Island. Port Washington has been known for its excellent schools for several generations, but the facts are that the districts facilities are dated and deteriorating. Be thankful you and your children experienced the benefits of forward thinking 1960s investment that carried the district through the millennium. It is now our turn to think long and invest appropriately for the needs of 2010 and beyond.

If you're thinking of buying into the Zimmerman/Sussman plan, we have a suggestion: sell your home now! Sell before the highly regarded but physically deteriorating district facilities suffer neglect at Zimmerman/Sussman's hands and the problem becomes known to those who consider moving to Port Washington.

Believe us, people with families choose to relocate first based on schools, last, if at all, based on whether one gets a seat on the train! Once the word is out about the impact of the Zimmerman/Sussman disinvestment program on Port Washington schools, you will wish you had sold.

We must challenge Zimmerman/Sussman to represent the community at large and advance the approved BOE plan, resign, or face the consequences! We cannot and will not tolerate purposely divisive tactics that serve no constructive purpose, and which ultimately hurt the district, the community and our future.

Bob and Susan Mann


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