On May 15, School District 14 residents will vote on a $105 million budget, as well as choose three school board candidates in an at-large election. Jonathan Altus is one of four people seeking a seat. The following is the questionnaire put to all candidates by the Hewlett-Woodmere Central Council PTA.
How long have you lived in the district and are/were you a parent of a child in the public schools?
I have lived in Hewlett for 23 years. I have two children. My son graduated Hewlett High School in 2009. My daughter is currently a junior at Hewlett High. Both children have only attended Hewlett public schools.
What particular experiences or skills qualify you to serve as a school board member?
I have been an active member of the community with intricate knowledge of the schools my children have attended. My professional background as a physician has trained me to find simple solutions to complex problems.
What do you see as the major issue(s) facing our school district?
Maintaining our school district’s high level of excellence in the face of decreasing state aid and unfunded mandates.
What do you see as the greatest strength of Hewlett-Woodmere schools?
The high level of education and commitment of the community to maintain these standards.
What do you see as the greatest weakness in our district and what would you do to change it?
The minimal state aid that we receive, which forces the local homeowner to pay excessive taxes. We need to do a better job informing the community that the state only pays approximately 5 percent of the school budget
What changes, if any, should be made in the district’s budget?
There should be an expansion of courses in future technologies and creative writing. Foreign language should begin in elementary school.
Is there any other information you would like to share about yourself or your goals? What would you like the community to know about you?
I am a practicing pulmonary and critical care physician that is in private practice in the South Shore. I’m hopeful that my experience in chairing many hospital committees will foster a collaborative relationship between the school district and the community. I am running with Melissa Gates and Steve Witt, who both share my interests in advocating for children of our district.
Note: One of Central Council Presidents’ responsibilities is to help publicize information on the board of education candidates either through a Candidate’s Night or a questionnaire. All information coming out of Central Council this year regarding the candidates and budget has been handled by Central Council Co-President, Mitchell A. Greebel only. There will be no Candidate’s Night due to scheduling restraints. The questionnaire used this year is the same one that was used in the last two (2) contested elections with a few minor changes developed in consultation with all the unit presidents. The responses were written by the candidates first hand with no editing or changes other than to consolidate and format the information here. The answers are provided here in the order that the candidates will be on the ballot. The order was chosen by lottery pick, which was conducted by the district clerk and witnessed by a district security guard. By law, the lottery is held the day after the petitions are submitted.