VOTING

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Uniondale High School and Lawrence Road Middle School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $175,425,636 budget for 2015-16, a 3.39 percent increase from the current $169,680,640. The local tax levy would remain at $120,792,495.

The state's tax cap would have allowed a 4.17 percent increase, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. District officials said the school tax for an average single-family home has not been determined yet, based on assessment values to be finalized in September.

Teacher salaries are set to receive a step salary raise plus a cost of living adjustment of 1.5 percent. The district is hiring eight new teachers and five part-time noncertified staff.

District website:

district.uniondaleschools.org

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THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents James M. Sharpe III and Emerson Mott, running as a team, face challenges from Terenna V. Williams and Dr. Sally A. Thompson, respectively, in the by-seat election. Williams and Thompson are running as a team. Terms are three years.

James M. Sharpe III

BACKGROUND: Sharpe, 55, has served as school board president the past two years and has served on the board for six years. He is running for his third term. He is a retired New York State firefighter and a graduate of LaGuardia Community College and Westchester Community College. Sharpe has lived in the district for 22 years and is a member of the United Neighbors Civic Association, the NAACP and The Corridor Counts Inc. He has a niece, a nephew and one granddaughter enrolled in Uniondale schools. Both his daughters graduated from the district.

ISSUES: Sharpe said the district is challenged in providing space for its growing community and an influx of migrant students. As a result, it needs additional funding to expand and construct new buildings. He said he wanted to expand the pre-K program. "Ultimately, it is our responsibility to educate every child that lives in this district," Sharpe said. "Right now we need more space and we need money for that space." He said he is meeting with local elected officials to seek additional state funding for Uniondale and remains committed to not increases taxes for residents.

Terenna V. Williams

BACKGROUND: Williams, 48, is running for her first seat on the board. She is director of the Glory House Recovery nonprofit organization. She graduated from the Outreach Training Institute in Brentwood with a credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor license in 2003. Williams is married with two children, who both attended Uniondale schools. She has lived in the district for more than 30 years.

ISSUES: Williams said she wants to bring transparency to the district and an open view of fiscal responsibility. She wants to make the budget easy to access and understand in order to eliminate wasteful spending. She said the district also needs to address issues of overcrowding and accepting unaccompanied immigrant students. She wants to see the tax burden reduced rather than held stagnant without any increases. "The board has never faced the issues we're dealing with in overcrowding and now we have to resolve it," Williams said. "If elected, we will take decisive action to implement long overdue changes in the best interest of all stakeholders, keeping the education of students as our top priority."

Emerson Mott

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BACKGROUND: Mott, 60, is running for his third term on the board, with a one-year hiatus since 2005. He graduated in 1977 with a bachelor's degree in psychology from Shippensburg University. He is a retired Verizon manager after a 27-year career and is a member of the Uniondale Chamber of Commerce. His two children are both graduates of Uniondale High School.

ISSUES: Mott said he wants to expand universal pre-K programs after receiving a $9.2 million grant to begin the program starting next fall. The grant runs for four years and is expected to open with 144 students and add 200 more by the fourth year. Mott said the district should float a bond measure to build a pre-K facility for students. He said the district is maxed out in space and must accommodate more families moving to Uniondale and immigrant students enrolling in the district. He also suggested reforming school testing and changing the opt-out clause for testing. "This can't be done overnight, and we need to find where the funds are coming from," Mott said. "We want to accommodate the children who belong in our district, no matter who they are."

Sally A. Thompson

BACKGROUND: Thompson, 69, is a retired school administrator. Thompson graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Boston University, and has a master's degree from Long Island University and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern University. She has lived in the district 21 years. Both of her children graduated from district schools.

ISSUES: Thompson said she has the time to devote to the school board and the background of working as a consultant from the state Department of Education. She said she wants to expand pre-K programs and increase space in the district to prevent students from being taught in basements and trailers. She said she wants to encourage community participation in the district and increase attendance at board meetings and budget hearings. Her plan would be to hold board meetings at Uniondale school sites to encourage involvement. "We have to have parent and community participation," Thompson said. "We need to get those people out and have their ideas and concerns to decide which direction the board should go."