I read with interest the multiple advertisements in the Port News from the "Nine Daughters" slate for the May 16 board of education elections. Prior to these ads, I only had a remote awareness of these three candidates, which I thought was because I did not attend many board of education meetings. But then I learned that these candidates, too, have rarely attended the Tuesday evening board of education meetings or the BOE sponsored meetings of the budget committee, the curriculum committee, the PTA/HSA meetings, and the Parent Council, nor have they taken the time to voice their ideas over the years. If I decided to run as a candidate for the board of education, I would certainly make it my business to attend many such meetings before concluding that the current board members are "ineffective" and before promoting myself as a viable alternative to current and past BOE members. Just for example, I would want to make sure that I understood the numerous educational and other regulations handed down by the Education Department of New York State. I would also want to fully understand where cost savings had already been found and identify if any others could be located, in keeping with legal constraints, before announcing candidacy based on a relatively small budget difference.
Most dangerously, while the "nine daughters" claim they support the budget, they somehow have reframed the lowest BOE budget increase in five years as "too high," when the total budget cost is already close to the feared contingency option. Also, they appear to promise that they will produce a 0 percent budget increase next year, before they even begin to engage in the work for which they are requesting our vote. They lament the repairs needed for the school buildings, yet don't offer a solution about where they will immediately find more money to fix the problems. I don't know all the facts either, but then again, I'm not asking you to vote for me. Please, let's think about whether it is safe to vote for "change" just for the sake of change. There is too much at stake. The work of the current board seems to be going in the right direction. I am voting for Messrs. Greenstein and Nardone and Dr. Nelson, and I urge you to do so too.
Elizabeth Engelman Peterson, Ph.D.