Herald Endorsement

Yes for Hewlett-Woodmere budget, vote for the bloc five


Having seven community members run for school board — people who are willing to be intimately involved in running the Hewlett-Woodmere School District — makes us smile. It also makes endorsing five of those seven more difficult, because they all articulated their ideas and opinions so well.

Previous board member Dr. Jonathan Altus, Dr. Tatyana Kopp, Shari Amitrano, Ramsha Ansari, incumbent Trustees Judy Menashe and Debi Sheinin (the current board president) and Francois Tenenbaum all share a love of the school district and a passion to enhance the programs and services it offers students.

Sheinin, Menashe, Altus, Amitrano and Tenenbaum are running as a bloc, describing themselves as “champions” of the district. While Kopp, a Franklin Early Childhood Center PTA stalwart, and Ansari, a 2011 Hewlett High School graduate, campaigned individually.

Sheinin and Menashe clearly deserve another three-year term on the board. Both helped the district devise a reopening plan during the coronavirus pandemic. They also helped with a budget proposal with a spending increase of under 2 percent, despite the unprecedented circumstances of the past year.

Altus was a trustee from 2012 to 2018. His previous experience with budgets that not only maintained, but increased programs, all without exceeding tax caps, will be imperative as the district makes its way past the pandemic.

Amitrano is a lifelong resident and a 1990 graduate of Hewlett High who has been active in the PTA. With more than 25 years of experience in financial services, she obviously understands money matters, but also says she will listen and ask pertinent questions when needed on non-budget topics.

Tenenbaum has been involved with the PTA for six years and has been a constant presence at Board of Education meetings as well. He wants what’s best for district children, and with his ability to think outside the box, he will be a positive addition to the board.

We appreciate Kopp’s and Ansari’s candidacies. They are both intelligent and detail-oriented candidates who offered fresh perspectives on district issues. We encourage them to stay involved and run for the board in the future.

Proposition One on Tuesday’s ballot is the 2021-22 budget proposal — just under $129.36 million, a 1.95 percent increase over current spending. Despite the increase, the proposal is worthy of being approved. It maintains the programs and services that make the district great in the eyes of its students and residents. The district and board have kept spending under control even through the pandemic.

Vote ‘yes’ on library budget
Proposition Two is the proposed Hewlett-Woodmere Public Library budget of just under $6.6 million. Amid the pandemic, the library has continued to offer remote programs and services, and its plan is a responsible use of taxpayers’ money. We encourage voters to support it.
Ellen Vaknine, of North Woodmere, is running unopposed for a five-year term on the library board. She too, deserves votes of approval.