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Letter: Port Jeff Board Candidate Prohovnik Makes His Pitch

Isak Prohovnik has lived in Port Jefferson for six years and is looking to control expenses and increase science education if elected.

Isak Prohovnik is one of three candidates running for two open seats on the Port Jefferson school board. He has lived on Arlington Avenue in Port Jefferson for six years and has a daughter in the high school.

Prohovnik is a professor of psychiatry and radiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and has experience managing large research projects, which gives him an edge in the school’s budgeting challenges.

He’s been working with the budget advisory committee and looks to continue his work trimming the budget if he’s elected. Prohovnik wants to bring together the extremes in the community regarding the budget toward more rational solutions.

With his background in the medical field, Prohovnik also thinks he can help bolster science education in the schools.

Below is a letter sent to Port Jefferson Patch by Prohovnik. In his letter, he outlines his background and his ideas for the school board:

My name is Isak Prohovnik, and I am asking for your vote. My wife, Lauren, and I have moved from Stony Brook to Port Jefferson in 2005. Our daughter, Dana, is in 10th grade at the Port Jefferson High School.

My Relevant Qualifications and Experience

I am a Professor of Psychiatry and Radiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine (NYU) in New York. My work involves research and teaching. My research is mostly about the aging brain, and I am trained and experienced in analytic and quantitative thinking. I have used those skills in analyzing educational and budgetary issues facing our Board, and written reports for the Board and the BAC.

I have initiated and directed several large research grants for the National Institutes of Health. These projects require meticulous long-range planning, accurate cost/benefit analyses, and strict budget controls. I am used to team work, and know the importance of setting explicit goals, meeting timetables, and producing results. I can negotiate, reason and reach consensus, without sacrificing core principles, recognizing that honorable persons can disagree on methods, even if they share the same goals. During the past two years, I have been intensively involved in budget preparations and negotiations as a member of the Budget Advisory Committee. I have helped formulate some of the central recommendations, and have become very familiar with our schools’ budgetary constraints and concerns. 

I teach, and participate in interviewing and selection of students at my university, and am familiar with the competitive environment and the skills necessary for our best students to succeed in college. For the past eleven years, as a judge on the Long Island Science & Engineering (Intel) competition, I have had the opportunity to speak with high school students from across Long Island, and learn about their schools. Since 2007, I have mentored the Port Jefferson Middle School Science Olympiad team, with other parent volunteers. I have thus learned the culture of Port Jefferson Schools and come to respect the abilities and motivation of the students. 

My Commitment to You

We are facing unprecedented financial challenge in the near future; dealing with this challenge will be my first priority. I will base my actions on the following principles: 

a) The financial burden and its consequences must be shared fairly by everyone (parents, administrators, teachers, tax payers).

b) Costs must be justified, initiatives must be carefully planned, budgetary efficiency and rationality must be maximized (specifics are available).

c) Educational excellence and academic rigor can only be reduced as an absolutely last resort. 

d) Process and procedures must be improved, especially Board oversight of the administration.

e) Community participation needs to be enhanced, especially input from teachers and residents who do not have children at school.

Finally, I have learned that progress on the school board requires cooperation among the board, the administration, and the unions, as well as among the school board members themselves. I will strive to preserve budgetary discipline, successful educational programs, and effective supervision of the administration, while making every effort to bridge differences of opinion through rational discussion and agreement. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at IsakPro@gmail.com.

I would appreciate your vote on Tuesday, May 17th, 2011.

Thank you

Isak Prohovnik

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