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Opinion

(Ed.'s note: The following was sent to Weber Middle School parents and guardians and is printed here at the writers' request.)

At this time, the board of education (BOE) is finalizing the proposed 2006-2007 School Budget on which our community will vote on May 16. As your HSA presidents, and also as parents of middle and high school students, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of this upcoming budget vote on the continuing quality of our children's education.

A school district forced to operate under the constraints of contingency cannot provide the quality education that we all have come to expect in this wonderful little community known as Port Washington. We can survive one contingency budget, but not two consecutive ones. In anticipation of the May 16 budget vote, we are asking that you:

1. Educate yourself about the draft proposed 2006-2007 budget and share your views with the BOE before April 4, when the proposed budget will be adopted.

2. Register to vote. The BOE has changed the voter registration process this year. If you have not voted in either a general election or a school board election within the last four years you will need to register before May 4. For more information, please visit the school district's website at www.portnet.k12.ny.us.

3. Make an informed decision as to your vote. Don't rely on what you hear from friends and neighbors, or even us for that matter. The BOE will be making many presentations to the community before the budget vote on May 16. Please plan on attending, among others:

• The BOE's public hearing on the proposed budget on May 2.

• The Weber HSA's May 8 meeting, which will be devoted to the proposed school budget. Members of the BOE and school district administration will be available to answer your questions.

4. Finally, vote on May 16! Consider the following:

• Approximately 50 percent of the parents of students enrolled in the school district who were eligible to vote actually voted in last year's election.

• In a significant number of two-parent households, only one parent voted, many believing erroneously that only one person in each household could vote.

• Last year's school budget was defeated by 200 votes.

Please, don't stay home on May 16 and allow a vocal minority to hold sway over your children's education. Your vote is important, and needs to be heard.

The Weber HSA's mission is "to promote the welfare of our children in the home, in the school, and in the community." As advocates for your children, the Weber HSA is working to ensure that the school budget that is ultimately adopted is educationally sound and provides for the quality education that our children deserve. As parents, we will be voting yes on May 16. We hope that you will join us.

Linda Reyes Weil
Lisa J. Davidoff
Weber HSA Co-Presidents

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