By Jacob Shafran
I am running for the school board of the Hewlett-Woodmere school district (District 14) because I feel, and have felt for some time, that an underrepresented part of our district needs a voice. As a product of the public school system, I value the importance of a strong and viable school district for our children. However, I also recognize that a school district is supported by all its residents, and all of the residents must be represented and their voices heard. While the Hewlett-Woodmere school district is considered by some to be an affluent community, there are members of our community who are financially challenged as a result of the exorbitant tax rate, the highest in all of Nassau County. There are parents with children in our public schools, parents of special-needs children, and parents of children in private schools who are simply feeling tremendous financial pressure due to these high taxes. I have spoken to retirees and people on fixed incomes, and a number of them have mentioned the need to sell their homes due to the exorbitant property taxes. I personally feel the pressure of these high taxes and I want to be their voice.
I have had people stop me in the street to say that it is about time someone was there to represent them. I had someone offer to treat me to a coffee at Starbucks to show his appreciation of my efforts. I have heard the phrase “it is about time” over and over again in the last few weeks.
Our taxes have gone up every year since I have lived in the district, and that is going back 27 years. They have gone up as much as 6 percent in some years. In recent years, they have gone up over 2 percent annually, the maximum allowed by the state. As in all areas of life, there must be a fair and equitable balance allowing all our residents the ability to live their lives without undue financial strain while at the same time maintaining a strong school system for our children. Our current school board does not seem to have an interest in this fair and balanced approach that hears the voices of all its residents. Indeed, based on recent history, we can look forward to a raise in our taxes to the maximum allowed by the state each and every year.
I wish to reiterate that we must have a strong and vibrant school district, but with fiscal responsibility, accountability, and transparency. Join me in saying “enough.” On May 20, vote for me, vote for your future. We can’t afford to lose! v