By Dave Kerpen
It is with mixed emotions that I chose not to run again this year for the Board of Education in Port Washington. Though I am stepping down, it has been an incredible honor to serve our great town these past three years as a Board Trustee, and this past year as Budget and Facilities Chair. I am proud of the Budget that we have put together at such a challenging time.
As for the Election, there are four people running for two seats, and while I respect each for their desire to serve, there are two clear choices who I ask you to support:
Rachel Gilliar and I first met three years ago, when we both filed petitions to run for the Port Washington Board of Education. We were the newbies on the Board together, learning the ins and outs of the peculiarities of school budgeting, facilities maintenance, education law, and the many, many other issues that a school board confronts every year, if not every week.
Rachel worked hard to improve communication and relations between the school district and the community. Together, we sat with our Assistant Superintendent for Business, Mary Callahan, for many hours, because we agreed that a school board member should deepen their understanding of the school budget. Neither of us felt that “that’s how we do it” was a good enough reason to end a conversation; Both of us understood that teachers are a crucial part of the education equation, and that they must be listened to and supported so they can do their jobs well. Perhaps most important, both Rachel and I care deeply for the community, and did our best to provide the best education possible for the children of Port Washington.
I know Rachel will continue to advocate strenuously for Port Washington to provide the best they can offer to our students, while thinking critically about our expenditures and creating a budget that’s fiscally sound. I urge you to cast your vote for progress: vote to re-elect Rachel Gilliar to the Port Washington Board of Education.
I have had the privilege of working with Julie Epstein during my time on the BoE as well. Julie’s attendance at EVERY Board meeting has shown a true dedication to gain an understanding of the role of the Board. In committee meetings, I have witnessed her curious questioning and interjection of perspective from the parent community, presented in a manner of guidance and support. Even from the sidelines, she has been able to inquisitively challenge the Board of Education and make the opinions of the parent population known, even if they are not the popular opinion.
We don’t always agree, but I deeply respect Julie for her confidence to speak up and share, even when it is not the majority opinion. Her constant research, sharing, communication and dedication would make her an excellent Board member, and I urge you to vote for Julie Epstein as well.
With a mail-in ballot this year, we will likely have a record “turnout.” Please make sure your votes count, and vote Gilliar and Epstein.
Thank you. YOU rule!