Despite some "challenges," the 2001-2002 school budget passed 2,040 to 1,730. One major hurdle the budget had to overcome to be ratified by the voters was its lack of approval from three school board members, Julie Meyer, Board Vice President Robert Ferro and John Zimmerman.
Another factor working against its passage was the fact that the board voted not to use money from the fund balance to offset the tax increase, as it has done in prior years. This raised the percentage increase for this year to an estimated 12 percent, even though the difference in the increase between the 2000 and 2001 budget is 8.91 percent. (As a point of information, the average increase in school budgets in Nassau was 8 percent. However, supporters of the budget argued that Port has one of the highest enrollments---number 50 out of 53 districts--- in the county.)
Some tough ads and letters to the editor also made proponents of the budget fearful that it might not pass, as has been the case for the first budget vote for the past two years.
The school board election also saw Nancy Cowles prevail over challenges with a strong victory despite a negative campaign mounted against her. She received 2,510 votes. Mrs. Cowles served one term on the school board from 1998 to 2000. She lost her bid for reelection last year, which prompted her friends and supporters to affectionately call her the "comeback kid."
Laura Mogul won her first bid for election with a strong showing of 2,610 votes.
The third candidate running this year, Michael Meehan, received 1,391 votes. (Note: Newsday incorrectly reported that Mr. Meehan, not Mrs. Mogul, won.)
Cowles and Mogul will fill the seats of Dean Nardone and Alan Baer, who, after each served one, three-year term, did not seek re-election.