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Seiden: The Legislative Task Force Wants You

Why everyday citizens can bring about change.

At least one Tuesday a month, you'll find Rob Seiden sitting at the dais alongside other members of the Port Washington School Board. But Seiden also wears a different hat, as part of the Port Washington Legislative Reform For Students and Taxpayers Task Force.

Patch caught up with Seiden to learn more about the Task Force, why he believes it can help local taxpayers and students alike, and what's so important about Tuesday's 7:30 p.m. meeting at the .

For those who don't know, what is the Legislative Task Force. What's its mission?

The Legislative Task Force of the Port Washington School District is made up of community members and school board members. The goal of the task force is to effectuate dramatic and transformational change by mobilizing the masses of local residents in a unified effort to force the state leaders to change the unjust laws that harm school children and taxpayers year after year. Only through overwhelming revolt against these unfair laws will we ever have a chance at repealing them. These laws are costing schools and tax payers millions each year.

You've spoken about a rally at Hofstra University on Thursday, March 24. What's the plan?

Our efforts in Port Washington are being coordinated with many other communities around Long Island and New York state. Over the next several months, our aim is to reach a critical mass and sufficient momentum to get the undeniable attention of our state leaders so that they can no longer ignore the will of the people, and they stop giving in to the special interests that have them in the palm of their hands like a snake charmer manipulating them with money and favors. 

What's the big meeting about on Tuesday – who should attend and why?

The task force is meeting tuesday at the Port Library to mobilize the community to action. The time has come to stop talking and start acting. The Albany budget will be approved soon and the time to act is now. We will inform the community of what the key issues are, answer their questions, explain upcoming key dates for rallies and other acts of planned grass roots advocacy. Our battle ahead is no small task. But, we are fighting for our future and our kids future. For too many years, the unfunded mandates and unjust state laws have cost Port Washington –and most other communities – millions of dollars. This money could be used for school kids or used to reduce taxes for the community members.

What kinds of unjust laws?

Some examples of these laws are the New York State bus law that requires buses to be paid for even though there may be only one child using it. This law alone, if changed, would hurt no one and would save Port Washington over $1 million dollars. The same with the Wicks Law, which requires districts to use four contractors for every construction project. This is an outdated law that has been removed from 49 states in America but still stays on the books in New York State and costs taxpayers millions for every large construction project to repair roofs or repair school facilities. 

Who will be at this meeting?

We expect to have guest speakers on Tuesday and to have a great turn out. Coffee and dessert will be served.

The Legislative Task Force of the Port Washington School District will meet Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Port Washington Public Library.

Port North Resident March 14, 2011 at 11:05 PM
As a Port North resident, I abhor your idea to give Port North's money to the sink hole that is the school district. If anything Weitzner should return the money to us the people who paid it via a tax cut. There is no reason Port North should have to unfairly shoulder the schools.
Joseph Mirzoeff March 15, 2011 at 10:39 AM
"This money could be used for school kids or used to reduce taxes for the community members." "could be used" -- But it will be used to increase the compensation of already well-paid employees -- as it is now. Note student services currently being cut as taxes go up, and as employee compensation for the already well-paid (teachers and administrators) only goes up. Why should anyone believe this misallocation process will change? Amazing initiative to reduce obligations, where is the pro-education pro-student agenda? -- longer day, more days in the year, less teacher absenteeism
Richard Sussman March 15, 2011 at 11:38 AM
This task force will only end up costing the taxpayers more. Can anyone trust the members of the school board to do the right thing. Look at the horrible contracts they have negotiated. How about the fact that members of the school board have written bids or proposals for outside vendors in what's supposed to competitive bidding. Very unethical if not illegal. We need real reform by the board don't pass the blame to Albany.
Deborah Rosen March 24, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Geoffrey N. Gordon, Superintendent of Port Washington Schools, was noticeably absent. "Dr. Gordon is sick and could not attend the meting, " said Board Member Rob Seiden. :The stress and frustration over these potential cuts is affecting him - it's a very scary time for all of us." Why are we paying our superintendent Geoffrey Gordon $295,000 a year. All jobs have pressure and obviously he is showing that he cannot handle it so he should resign. We should find someone who can handle the pressures of the position. Wouldn't it be great that all of us can take off a day of meetings because of the stress of our job. Let us thank our teachers for the great job that they are doing to place our school in such high regard. It is time that Geoffrey Gordon stops taking credit for this!!! Our Newsweek ranking for high schools have dropped since Geoffrey Gordon has taken his position
Deborah Rosen March 24, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Geoffrey N. Gordon, Superintendent of Port Washington Schools, was noticeably absent. "Dr. Gordon is sick and could not attend the meting, " said Board Member Rob Seiden. :The stress and frustration over these potential cuts is affecting him - it's a very scary time for all of us." Why are we paying our superintendent Geoffrey Gordon $295,000 a year. All jobs have pressure and obviously he is showing that he cannot handle it so he should resign. We should find someone who can handle the pressures of the position. Wouldn't it be great that all of us can take off a day of meetings because of the stress of our job. Let us thank our teachers for the great job that they are doing to place our school in such high regard. It is time that Geoffrey Gordon stops taking credit for this!!! Our Newsweek ranking for high schools have dropped since Geoffrey Gordon has taken his position

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