6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Jackson Avenue School and the Meadow Drive School.THE BUDGET
The district proposes an $89,664,263 budget for 2015-16, a 2.12 percent increase from the current $87,799,041. The local tax levy would rise 1.37 percent, from $79,045,241 to $80,124,481.
This increase is within the state's tax-cap limit of 1.37 percent, so a simple majority vote is required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 1.37 percent, from $6,540 to $6,630. The budget would not involve staffing reductions. The teachers contract expires June 30 and the district did not provide any estimate of teacher salary increases.
Incumbent Christine Napolitano, Joy Giordano-Renner, Mark Swensen and Brian Widman are competing for two at-large seats. Artie Barnett is not seeking re-election. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Napolitano, 55, is a fitness and health professional. She earned a bachelor's degree from St. John's University in 1982. She has been a member of the school board since 2009, currently as its vice president. She served as president from 2011-2012. Napolitano has lived in Williston Park for more than 23 years. Her three children graduated from district schools. She is running with Brian Widman.
ISSUES: Napolitano said she would continue to build upon the success of the district's award-winning educational and technology programs, and to improve its aging infrastructure -- such as upgrading athletic fields -- without incurring new debt. Eight years ago, the district imposed a tax cap on spending, before the cap was mandated by the state, and that, she said, has put the district's finances on a "sound" path. If elected, she said she would continue to work to keep the district on strong financial footing.
BACKGROUND: Giordano-Renner, 44, of Roslyn Heights, is a first-grade teacher in the Uniondale school district. She received her bachelor's in social work and a certificate in early childhood education from the University of Maryland in 1992. She earned a master's in special education from C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, now LIU Post, in 1994 and a professional diploma in school district administration from The College of New Rochelle in 2005. She participates in several school committees, including iPad initiative and site-based management. She is in charge of fundraising and membership for the Mineola Athletic Booster Club. Giordano-Renner has lived in the district for 41 years and her three sons are enrolled in the district's elementary, middle and high schools. This is her first run for office, and she is running with Mark Swensen.
ISSUES: Giordano-Renner said if elected, she would work to improve education in a cost-effective way. She would evaluate specialized K-12 programs to determine whether they are working and whether the district should continue investing in them. "I would seek data and evidence that these programs are improving the education of our students, thus allowing us to effectively plan accordingly for our future."
BACKGROUND: Swensen, 38, of Mineola, is an information technology project manager. A graduate of Mineola High School, Swensen attended Nassau Community College for two years. He has lived in the district for 34 years and he and his wife have a 2-year-old son. This is the first time he is running for a seat on the school board. He is running with Joy Giordano-Renner.
ISSUES: Swensen said the district continues to raise property taxes year after year despite having a surplus. The money the district collected, but did not spend, is set aside in a "large" capital reserve fund, he said. "I would work to return money remaining in the budget to the residents of the district when possible."
BACKGROUND: Widman, 46, is a business data analyst. He received a bachelor's in computer science from Queens College in 1992. He is executive vice president of the South Park Civic Association and a coach with the Mineola Athletic Association. He's also a founding member, treasurer and assistant manager of the L.I. Dodgers amateur men's baseball team. He has lived in the district for 35 years. His two sons are enrolled in district schools. This is Widman's first run for a seat on the school board, and he is running with Christine Napolitano.
ISSUES: Widman said he would work to add programs while keeping property tax increases under 2.5 percent, a cap he said the district has achieved for the past eight years. "I plan to maintain the direction of the district while it continues to be a leader in the science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics initiative." He said he also will spend money to improve facilities without borrowing. "I will continue the upgrading of facilities without creating debt through bonds."