TODAY'S PAPER
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VOTING

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Newbridge Road Elementary School.

THE BUDGET

The district is proposing a budget of $55,321,132 for 2017-18, a 2.94 percent increase from the current $53,742,934. The tax levy would increase 2.18 percent, from $36,221,022 to $37,010,640. This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on an average single-family house would increase 2.19 percent, from $3,699 to $3,780.

Teachers would receive an average 0.75 percent salary increase, and an approximately 1.6 percent step increase. Staffing and program levels would remain the same.

Voters also will be asked to approve the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s 2017-18 budget of $153,666,863. Another proposition asks voters to allow the high school district to spend more than $1.5 million from a capital reserve fund to cover infrastructure improvements.

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent John Ferrara and candidate Erica Wilson are running for one at-large seat. The term is three years.

John Ferrara

BACKGROUND: Ferrara, 49, an electrician, has lived in the district for 17 years. He was elected to the school board six years ago and currently serves as the board’s vice president. Ferrara has three children who attended or are attending district schools. Ferrara has an associate degree from SUNY Empire State College. He was a football and baseball youth coach in North Bellmore.

ISSUES: Ferrara said during his board tenure, no district personnel positions have been cut “and we added new positions.” Ferrara said that the current school board “has worked really well together to accomplish many great things.” He said he has worked with fellow board members to expand educational opportunities and implement and upgrade security and safety throughout the schools. Ferrara said that during his tenure the district “also upgraded and renovated the district’s school buildings and properties.”

Erica Wilson

BACKGROUND: Wilson, 48, has lived in the district for 12 years. She is a sixth-grade English teacher in the New York City school district. Wilson has a bachelor’s degree from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in education, also from Hofstra. Her child attends school in the central high school district. She is a member of the Mepham High School PTA and a former member of the North Bellmore PTA.

ISSUES: “As a North Bellmore resident and mother of a Mepham ninth-grader, I am proud of what our district has accomplished and the success our children and graduates have had academically,” she said, adding that “public education is facing some difficult challenges and North Bellmore is no exception.” She said the challenges include “rising taxes, the inequalities of the Common Core, high-stakes testing and bullying.” Wilson said: “I’m running for the board of education because we need a change, fresh eyes and fresh ears.”

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