VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lynbrook High School, Lynbrook North Middle School and Lynbrook South Middle School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes an $80,867,382 budget for 2016-17, a 1.88 percent increase from the current $79,373,791. The local tax levy would rise 0.239 percent, from $64,596,033 to $64,750,162.

This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit of 0.239 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family house would increase 0.81 percent, from $9,225 to $9,300.

The proposed budget includes an average contractual increase of 0.5 percent for teachers, and a 3 percent step increase. One English teacher and one art teacher position would be cut, and one instructional technology staff developer position would be added.

A ballot proposition authorizes spending $450,000 from the Technology Replacement Fund for classroom projectors, instructional technology devices, replacing a “firewall” system that protects district computers, and additional servers for remote network access and upgrades to the district’s phone system. Another ballot proposition would authorize spending $1,885,000 from the Renovation and Improvement of Facilities Reserve Fund for a ceiling and lighting project at Lynbrook High School, a bathroom renovation and parking lot resurfacing at North Middle School, and replacement of a gymnasium floor at South Middle School.

  • District website:

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lynbrookschools.org

THE CANDIDATES:

Incumbents William Belmont and Heather Hanson and candidates Renee Gaughran, Janessa Harvin and Michael Moreo are vying for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

William Belmont

BACKGROUND: Belmont, 50, was raised in the district and graduated in the Lynbrook High School class of 1984. He moved back to the community 15 years ago. Belmont was elected to the school board nine years ago, and currently serves as board president. Belmont has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from The George Washington University and a law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. Belmont is a self-employed investigative attorney. He is a volunteer varsity football coach at Lynbrook High School, and also coaches local youth lacrosse and basketball programs. His two children attend district schools.

ISSUES: Belmont said the most important issue is “local control.” Belmont said “school districts are under attack from Albany, which is trying to wrestle control away from local school boards” over teacher and student evaluation and “how to spend their communities’ dollars.” He added: “When a school district is as successful as Lynbrook is, we don’t need Albany telling us how to run our district.” He said the district has been “doing a great job, especially in the last few years, educating our students, expanding our programs, assisting our special education population and helping students transition to life after high school.”

Renee Gaughran

BACKGROUND: Gaughran, 43, is a disability accommodations specialist for Queensborough Community College in Bayside. She has lived in the district for 16 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in elementary education, both from Hofstra University. She is an executive board member and committee chair of the West End Elementary School PTA, serves on the Lynbrook Winter Celebration Committee and is the parent leader of Girl Scouts of Nassau County Troop 2282 in Lynbrook. Gaughran’s two children attend district schools. She ran last year for the school board, and lost by two votes.

ISSUES: Gaughran said, “first and foremost, our high school needs to be updated to meet the needs of our students.” For instance, she said, “the performing arts center needs to be renovated and updated with current technology.” Gaughran continued: “These updates need to be carefully considered as rising school taxes are a primary concern for all residents.” Gaughran said, “the recent $60 million bond was voted down in March because many believe it was not well thought out.” She said the school board should review the bond proposal, reach out to the community for input, and present options for their consideration, including “a plan to repurpose and reuse our existing buildings and space.”

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Heather Hanson

BACKGROUND: Hanson, 48, has lived in the district for 13 years. Hanson, a professional fundraiser and grant writer for nonprofit organizations, is currently working with the Rainforest Foundation. Hanson earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Maine in Orono. She was elected to the school board three years ago. Hanson has two children in district schools. Hanson is active in the high school and middle school PTAs. She is a parent leader in the youth group at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lynbrook.

ISSUES: Hanson said it is important to “keep the district focused on academics and living up to the high expectations of the Long Island public schools while staying within the tax cap.” Hanson said improvements need to be made to Lynbrook High School, including updating the science and technology facilities, adding space for music classes, and adding a career preparedness and life skills center for students with special needs. After a bond issue referendum for high school projects failed in March, she said, “we are reformulating a bond that we can work with the community on passing.”

Janessa Harvin

BACKGROUND: Harvin, 37, grew up in South Ozone Park and has lived in the district for four and a half years. Harvin is an account manager for an investment firm in Manhattan. She studied business administration at St. John’s University. Harvin’s two children attend district schools. She is an active PTA member in the district. This is her first run for the school board.

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ISSUES: Harvin said, “The most important issue facing my district is communication between the board of education, the district administration and the community.” She said a bond referendum for high school improvements failed because the school board didn’t answer community questions about the bond and its expenditures. The bond would have “upgraded science labs which would have been able to accommodate the STEAM program, a new state-of-the-art performing arts center and upgraded library,” Harvin said. She said, “Many in the community feel disengaged, and it is my hope to bring all of those that feel they haven’t been heard, back into the fold and participating in the process once again.”

Michael Moreo

BACKGROUND: Moreo, 46, has lived in the district for 23 years. Moreo is assistant director of information technology at an arbitration law firm in Garden City. Moreo is a 1987 graduate of Lynbrook High School. He earned a bachelor of business administration degree in management from Hofstra University. Moreo has two children attending district schools. He volunteered as a player safety coach in 2014 and 2015 for Lynbrook Titans Youth Football. Last year he was a member of the league’s board of directors. He is an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 323 in Levittown. This is his first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Moreo said if the school board had “listened more carefully to the community’s concerns and desires,” a proposed $45 million bond would not have been voted down earlier this year. He said the school board should have sent a flyer with details of the bond proposal to residents who were not able to attend board meetings because of work and family commitments. Moreo said, “Our community needs greater accessibility to its members of the board of education.” He said one solution would be for residents to have “recorded access to all board meetings.”