VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Bellport Middle School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $129,595,729 budget for 2017-18, a 2.61 percent increase from the current $126,296,440. The tax levy would increase by 2.04 percent, from $57,852,321 to $59,032,115.

This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would increase by 2.04 percent, from $5,818.75 to $5,937.45.

The proposed budget includes a contractual salary raise of 1 percent and a 2.6 step increase for teachers. It also adds 8.8 teaching positions and 17.5 teaching assistant positions. The district is reallocating funding for busing for the prekindergarten program within the budget at a cost of about $500,000.

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THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents Danielle Skelly and Allison Stines and candidate Jack Nix are running for one at-large seat. Terms are three years.

Jack Nix

BACKGROUND: Nix, 22, a lifelong resident, is a library circulation clerk at South Country Library. He is a Bellport High School graduate and earned a bachelor’s degree at St. Joseph’s College, transferring there from LIU Post. He is a Brookhaven Town Democratic committee member.

ISSUES: Nix said he wants to bring a younger perspective to the board. “I want to bring the community back to the board and help the board communicate within the board,” he said, and added that nothing gets done with all the internal board bickering. He said he would work to make sure money is spent so departments get what they need to help students achieve their creative potentials.

Danielle Skelly

BACKGROUND: Skelly, 42, has lived in the district for 20 years. She is a family support specialist for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York. Including her foster children, three children have graduated from district schools and four are now enrolled. She is studying health and human services at SUNY Empire State College. Skelly is a co-founder of the South Country Community Information Café. She has been on the board for three years.

ISSUES: The district needs financial help from the state to continue to meet the needs of its diverse population, including educating its growing English as a New Language population, she said. “And we have to make sure we’re giving kids skills for when they leave high school. Not everyone is college-bound,” she added. She points to the success of the district’s culinary program and that the district is now offering technology certificates through BOCES for 11th- and 12th-graders. She supports nontraditional pathways to graduation and said she will work to find diverse pathways to meet state graduation requirements.

Allison Stines

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BACKGROUND: Stines, 41, a lifelong resident, is an insurance broker. She studied early childhood education at Suffolk Community College and St. Joseph’s College. She was a member of the Bellport Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary and PTA. She has two children attending district schools and one who graduated from Bellport High School. Stines is currently the board’s vice president and is seeking her second term on the board.

ISSUES: Unfunded mandates and their high cost remain a problem for the district, Stines said. “Mandates pose a threat and are draining resources,” she said. Continuing internal board issues are a problem as well, she noted. “We’re not where we need to be as a team. We need to put our energy toward important school issues.” The board voted to drop pre-K busing to get the most cost-effective budget, she noted. “We’re trying to be fiscally responsible, and that’s where you help the kids, putting the money to use in elementary schools or toward services,” she said. Stines said she is independent and gets all the information before making a decision.