The decision of the Roslyn Interim School Superintendent David J. Helme to promise "utter transparency" in budget matters should be a starting point for Port Washington and neighboring school districts. Statewide, we have plowed over 50 percent more state aid in education over the last several years and with the inflation rate under 3 percent, school districts demand increases which can be 300 percent to 400 percent higher than inflation.
I would recommend the Port Washington School District foster forthright communication with utter transparency in budget matters by posting its complete "budget on its website. Shouldn't the community know how many cell phones, laptop computers, credit cards, district vehicles, catering expenses, travel expenses and Roslyn Claremont Hotel lodging costs are being expended which do not directly impact instruction? Do we need two administrators at Guggenheim Elementary School at an expense of $220,000 plus benefits while the other elementary schools function with one principal?
The Port Washington community received three or four editorials from the school district in the Port Washington News during the April/May 2004 budget period. I encourage the district to continue these lines of communication beyond the spring budget vote and thus begin this new school year with a new era beyond words and seen in action. Transparency in budgeting and sharing the school tax rate with residents will go far in restoring public trust. The Bond Referendum failure should be a wakeup call to the district. Open the books. And why not!