TODAY'S PAPER
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40° Good Morning

BUDGET

SPENDING $134,079,000, a 2.33 percent increase from the current $131,020,750.

TAX LEVY 2.38 percent increase, from $93,263,565 to $95,480,806. This is within the district’s 2.54 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS The district did not respond to email and telephone requests for information about the percentage of teacher salary and step increases included in the proposed school budget. The proposed budget funds expansion of a new, inquiry-based science curriculum in grades four and five, adds Advanced Placement courses in art, computer science principles and research, increases instructional technology in classrooms districtwide, and maintains other programs in academics, sports and extracurricular activities.

PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 2 would reduce to 1½ miles the distance that students have to live from their school to obtain bus transportation; at present, that distance is 2 miles. The cost to the district would not exceed $151,000. Approval of the proposition will not affect the tax levy.

Proposition 4 would establish a $25 million capital reserve fund for auditorium, gymnasium, cafeteria and library/multimedia center renovations, exterior renovations and reconstruction, computer/technology and security system upgrades and other district projects. Approval of the proposition will not affect the tax levy.

WHEN | WHERE

7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Baldwin High School. www.baldwinschools.org

CANDIDATES

Incumbent Susan Cools, Patricia Hinds Mason and Tom Smyth are running for two seats, elected at-large. Incumbent Joel Press is not seeking re-election. Terms are three years.

Susan Cools

BACKGROUND Cools, 54, has lived in the district for 35 years. She grew up in Lakewood, Colorado, and graduated from high school there. Cools earned a New York State Associate Broker License and is a licensed real estate broker on the South Shore. She has three children, all graduates of the district’s public schools. When they were in school, she was an active member of the Plaza School PTA, and, with three other women in the district, formed a corporation to raise money to build the Plaza Community Playground. Cools is a member of the Baldwin/Rockville Centre Rotary Club and currently is club president. She was elected to the school board in 2016.

KEY ISSUE “I think it’s very important to have somebody on the board that is also very involved in the community because you really need that bridge between the two. I bring that to the table, as well as representing the residents of Baldwin that pay school taxes but no longer have kids in the schools. The district should reach out to those people and keep them involved as well, and that’s something I want to make sure that we’re doing.”

Patricia Hinds Mason

BACKGROUND Mason, 62, has lived in the district for 24 years. Mason is an associate professor of education at Molloy College in Rockville Centre. She grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and is a graduate of The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates. Mason earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Hunter College in Manhattan and a master's degree in special education from Queens College in Flushing. She earned her Ed.D. in education leadership from Hofstra University. Mason has three children, one of whom graduated from Baldwin High School. Her other two children also attended district public schools and graduated from a parochial high school on Long Island. She is president of Concerned Parents of Baldwin, a community activist group, and is a member of the district’s Baldwin Teacher Center, which offers workshops and professional development for teachers. Mason designed and directs private Saturday and summer enrichment programs for local children. This is her first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE "I am committed to the academic success of the children of Baldwin and dedicated to the Baldwin community. My experience in education will be an asset in advancing new ideas and opportunities to ensure the success of all Baldwin students. I plan to provide innovative ideas, equitable practices and purposeful leadership to the board. My dedication to the community motivates me to listen to concerns and also find solutions."

Tom Smyth

BACKGROUND Smyth, 53, has lived in the district for 21 years. He grew up in Rockville Centre and graduated from South Side High School there in 1983. Smyth is director of operations for Bridgewater Advisors, a Manhattan financial firm. He has a bachelor's degree in international studies from Manhattan College in the Bronx and a master of information studies from the University of Phoenix. He served as co-president of the Baldwin Middle School PTA from 2013 to 2015 and as co-president of the Baldwin High School PTA from 2016 to 2018. Smyth has three children, two of whom are district graduates and one who is a current student. In the last six years, he has made four trips to the state capital in Albany to lobby government officials for more state aid for the district. This is his first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE ”If I’m elected, I look forward to continuing our lobbying efforts in Albany to bring Long Island’s fair share of state aid back to Long Island. I also look forward to involving more of my fellow parents in these lobbying efforts.”

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