The Constitution of the Port Washington Teachers Association begins with a listing of objectives. The first one is "to work for the welfare of the school children of Port Washington." The teachers of Port Washington believed that by supporting and working for the retention of nurse teachers, they were doing what was best for the children. At school board meetings and in letters to the editor, parents, teachers, administrators and others testified to the value of the school nurse teachers to children. While eliminating school nurse teachers does save some money, it also means that students will not have this program and these teachers to teach, counsel and help them and their parents. We do not believe that the savings were worth the cost. However, the school board believes that the savings are worth the cost.
Mr. Wezenaar in his April 22 letter stated that the PWTA was willing to keep nurse teachers at the expense of sports. This is definitely untrue. No representative of the PWTA has ever suggested or would ever suggest that sports or other extra curricular activities be eliminated. These activities are important to the education of children and are a necessary part of any school program.
The PWTA certainly would like to be as powerful as Mr. Wezenaar states we are. If it were, nurse teachers and all extra curricular activities including sports would be in the proposed budget. If the PWTA were as powerful as Mr. Wezenaar states, Port's teachers would have higher salaries and fringe benefits than teachers of surrounding communities. They do not. If we have any power, it is the power of unity and conviction.
The board has made the cuts that people like Mr. Wezenaar wanted. They should now vote "yes" on May 18. We hope that the rest of the community will examine the budget and vote "yes" too on May 18. The proposed budget even with its faults, is the best that Port Washington school children will get.
Mary Anne Cariello
Port Washington Teachers Association