6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Old Bethpage Elementary, Plainview-Old Bethpage Middle School and Jamaica Avenue School.
The district proposes a $146,035,602 budget for 2015-16, a 0.97 percent increase from the current $144,639,038. The tax levy would rise 0.22 percent, from $121,638,961 to $121,910,510.
This increase is below the state's tax-cap limit of 2.03 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would rise 0.22 percent, from $9,463 to $9,484, but district officials also noted that the Nassau County assessor's office has provided only tentative assessed values.
Teacher salaries are subject to negotiations later this year. The budget funds an additional 5.4 teacher positions and three other instructional staff.
Voters will consider two referendums. The first proposition asks for authorization of use $5 million of capital reserve funds for facilities repairs including window replacement, roof repair at the high school and parking lot improvements at the high school and two middle schools. The second proposition requests authorization of a capital reserve fund of $5 million for facilities improvements, including upgrades to exterior lighting, and electrical infrastructure for air conditioning construction of science/research facilities at the high school. Neither proposition impacts the tax rate.
Adam Bellow, Jodi Campagna, Lauren Sackstein and Michael Todisco are running for two at-large seats. Amy Pierno and Evy Rothman are not seeking re-election. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Bellow, 34, an educational technologist, has lived in the district for more than three years. He holds a bachelor's degree in film studies and sociology from Hofstra University, a master's in education and special education from Hunter College and a master's in educational technology from LIU Post. He has two children, one currently enrolled in the district and a preschooler who will attend the district in one year.
ISSUES: Bellow said the top issues facing the district are the "folding" of the kindergarten center and the other is the broader issue of the Common Core state standards testing and the "ramifications these assessments have on our children, their teachers, and the school and district morale." He said the proposed closing of the kindergarten center and decision to send kindergarten students to their "home" elementary schools should be taken with great care. If elected, "I would ensure that every concern was taken into account and the information was shared with the public in order to be transparent in the decision-making process," he said. He said the culture of high-stakes testing and the growing opt-out movement is the other "elephant in the room." As a former classroom teacher, he supports educators and he does not feel the test scores from unproven exams should be used to measure their effectiveness. Also, he disagrees with subjecting students to exams that he compared with the bar exam.
BACKGROUND: Campagna, 43, is a software marketing professional who has lived in the district for 10 years. She holds a master's degree in business administration from Adelphi University. She is the co-founder of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Parents for Common Sense group on Facebook. She has two children enrolled in the local schools.
ISSUES: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York State Education Department and the Board of Regents "are forcing public schools to adhere to misguided policies created by businessmen and politicians -- not experienced educators," she said. If elected, Campagna said she plans to work hard to prevent "testing mania" from interfering with education. She also would advocate for full restoration of the Gap Elimination Adjustment, and to regain local control over curriculum and teacher evaluations. She also will work to limit the amount of time students spend on test prep and preserve parents' rights for students to refuse the exams. "But, most importantly, I will always put our students first," she said.
Lauren SacksteinBACKGROUND: Sackstein, 40, is a graduate of the Plainview-Old Bethpage school system. She's an administrator at West Hills Animal Hospital and has lived in the district for 36 years. She earned a bachelor's degree from Hofstra University. Sackstein has two children in both Parkway Elementary School and Mattlin Middle School. Sackstein is the past vice president of the Kindergarten Center PTA, past president of the Parkway Elementary School PTA, vice president of the Founders Day Council PTA, Relay for Life Mattlin Middle School PTA chair and has been a member of the PTA Council for six years.
ISSUES: The most compelling issue facing the district, she said, are concerns about excessive testing, "the governor's new proposal about teacher evaluations, as well as the financial limits of the 2 percent tax cap levy and the importance of preserving public education." She said, if elected, she would continue to lobby with state officials and continue her involvement in the community "by keeping open communication so that stakeholders are aware of the issues and feel empowered to participate in the process."
Michael TodiscoBACKGROUND: Todisco, 36, is the regional vice president for Associated Builders & Contractors-Empire State Chapter, which is a national trade association that advocates for open-shop commercial contractors. He has lived in the district 30 years and has two children enrolled in the district. He has a bachelor's degree from the University at Buffalo. He is a member of the Plainview Old-Bethpage Chamber of Commerce as well as the POB Bond Committee, and a coach for the Plainview Old-Bethpage Boys & Girls Soccer Club and the Plainview Little League Boys Baseball.
ISSUES: The biggest issue facing the district, he said, is the amount of academic competition and pressure that has been put on the students, parents and teachers. He would like more emphasis on reading, writing, math and, of course, having fun. He supports the program -- currently offered as a trial -- which provides second-graders extra help two mornings a week. As a board member, he would look to make this program permanent and expand it across the grades so that every child is given the opportunity to learn at an individual pace. He proposes creating quarterly town hall meetings for students and parents to openly discuss upcoming challenges and answer questions honestly.