I find it difficult to read your column, "Port School Board Notes," as written by our current school board president, Mr. Robert Seiden, because it is so consistently laudatory and self-laudatory, and is so devoid of any discussions concerning the real problems that face our school district. Mr. Seiden often makes glib generalizations in his column without offering a modicum of information to substantiate his claims. For instance, in his last column, he makes the following statement. "Under the new school leadership (which includes him, of course), we have dramatically reduced costs......." My gosh, what in the world is he talking about?
Our school district is now operating with a budget of $105,000,000, up approximately $5,000,000 from the year before and we are spending $23,000 per pupil, according to the district's recently audited financial statements. I and many other residents would very much appreciate it if Mr. Seiden, in his next column, would enumerate 3, 4, 5 or more areas where school operating costs "have been dramatically reduced," and especially not reduced as a result of the voters having rejected the bloated budget that he and the other board members offered us this past June. And what is a dramatic reduction? I would say that since we are dealing with a budget that totals $105,000,000, that to be dramatic, a single reduction should amount to at least one-half of one percent of the budget, or approximately $500,000. Anything less than that should be considered a normal reallocation of financial resources.
I, Frank Russo and other non-educators recently made suggestions to Dr. Gordon, our superintendent of schools, and to Mr. Seiden, about spending areas where substantial cost savings could possibly be achieved. One or two of our suggestions have been consigned to a committee formed by Dr. Gordon for review, which means that there is little hope that any meaningful changes will eventually be made, while other suggestions were dismissed as simply having been made by non-professionals.
I take this opportunity to remind readers to please attend the Port Washington Educational Assembly forum at the library, 7:30 p.m., on the 17th of this month, where many important school district matters will be discussed.
Joel Katz, Treasurer (PWEA)