VOTING

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Albany Avenue School, Daniel Street School, Harding Avenue School, William Rall School and Lindenhurst Middle School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $148,495,451 budget for 2015-16, a 1.45 percent increase from the current $146,370,658. The tax levy would rise 2.03 percent, from $92,045,414 to $93,914,649. This increase is less than the state's tax-cap limit of 2.06 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

The school tax paid on an average single-family home would rise 2.03 percent, from $7,368.75 to $7,518.39.

The budget contains only step increases for teacher salaries of 2.10 percent, and would add positions for eight teachers. It would also fund high school SAT math and English courses, AP statistics and virtual enterprises, as well as the possibility of two sections of a special education 8:1:2 class (based upon the number of students placed in special education). The science research program will expand next year into the middle school program, where an additional 8:1:2 class is to be added as well.

District website:

lindenhurstschools.org

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THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Donna Hochman is running unopposed for another three-year term. Incumbent Mary Ellen Cunningham, who is running as a team with Hochman, faces a challenge from Victoria Vine. Kevin Garbe and Todd Lemieux are contesting each other for the seat of Patricia Ames, who is not seeking re-election.

Mary Ellen

Cunningham

BACKGROUND: Cunningham, 54, is director of a Bright Horizons Child Care center in Manhattan, and holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from SUNY Plattsburgh and a master's degree in elementary education from LIU Post. She has been a trustee of the Lindenhurst board of education since 2009, its vice president since 2013, and a committee member of the NY Rising community reconstruction program. She has lived in the district 20 years and her three children attended district schools.

ISSUES: Cunningham said the district faces many significant issues -- from teacher contracts, Common Core and annual professional performance reviews to decisions on real estate and the loss of students to illegal drugs -- "that all have to be addressed," she said. "It's not always easy or popular, but I base my decisions on what's best for our students and the Lindenhurst community and still be fiscally responsible and educationally sound." Regarding the Common Core and teacher evaluations, she said, "I understand the need to hold people accountable, but the new system is flawed and needs to be fine-tuned with input from educators."

Victoria Vine

Vine, an attorney, declined to fill out a biographical form, but supports the "Refusal Movement" opposing state testing and its role in evaluating teachers.

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Kevin Garbe

BACKGROUND: Garbe, 39, is a medical device sales manager who has lived in the district for 32 years. A 1998 graduate of Lehigh University, he attended district schools and was a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1998 to 2005. His three children attend district schools, and he is active coaching youth soccer and basketball.

ISSUES: The most important issue facing the district, he said, is "restricted funding coupled with unfunded mandates. We have to find ways to do more with less." He'd explore options for outside funding grants and push for long-term strategic planning to better prepare for "what's coming around the corner." He said he'd bring his experience in both government and private-sector budget management to "ensure responsible budget management while keeping the best interests of students, teachers, administrators and taxpayers equally balanced." He supports a parent's right to opt out of state testing, and said "to evaluate an entire body of work based on a couple of tests is not a relevant or fair mark" for pupils or teachers.

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Todd Lemieux

BACKGROUND: A 15-year district resident, Lemieux, 41, is a training manager in a financial firm with a bachelor's degree from Pepperdine University. He participates in the Pepperdine Alumni Association, the Catholic Finance Association and the Knights of Columbus, and is founder of the Catholic Business Network. He teaches religion at Our Lady of Perpetual Help and was on the board of the Children's Sports Connection. He has three children, one in preschool and the others in district schools.

ISSUES: He said as reforms come from Albany, he wants to serve as a "unifying force in the district" while advocating for parents' rights, and greater lines of communication. "My biggest reason for running is I want to stop the marginalization of parents in the education of their children, from teacher evaluations to the way our data is used by outside companies to the Common Core testing and the curriculum itself." He said he was skeptical of the Common Core, and supported review of lesson plans as part of teacher evaluations. Prior to his current work, he was in youth ministries for 10 years, he said. "If you take my work with kids and my experience in finance, being a board member seems to be a natural fit."