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Overcast 40° Good Morning


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Bay Shore High School.


The district proposes a $151,988,797 budget for 2017-18, a 1.39 percent increase from the current $149,899,163. The tax levy would rise by 1.63 percent, from $102,576,506 to $104,247,009.

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 the average single-family home would increase by 1.69 percent, from $7,556 to $7,684.

The proposed budget includes estimated salary increases for teachers, which are subject to contract negotiations. It calls for adding five English as a New Language teachers, two Academic Intervention Services math teachers, two social workers and one full-time-equivalent administrator — half as assistant director of ENL and a half as chairperson of the Committee on Preschool Special Education.

n District website:


Incumbents Louis Bettinelli and Guy Leggio and candidates Scott Berlin, James Notaro and Michael Ruggiere are seeking two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Scott Berlin

BACKGROUND: Berlin, 54, a physician, has lived in the district for 23 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and his medical degree at the Chicago Medical School. He was chairman of the obstetrics/gynecology department at Southside Hospital, is a past president of the Suffolk County Ob/Gyn Society and the founder and chief executive of a company that markets a cesarean-section safety device. He has two children attending district schools.

ISSUES: Berlin said he will push for continued funding of the sports program and extracurricular activities and will work to keep charter schools out of the community. “I can and will be a strong force to our elected New York state officials to make sure they know how disastrous charter schools can be to a community,” he said. He would continue with the board’s current direction and try to keep taxes low, Berlin said.

Louis Bettinelli

BACKGROUND: Bettinelli, 61, a lifelong district resident, is a ship and docking pilot in New York Harbor. His wife is director of science in the district. He graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a bachelor’s degree. He is on the board of the Maritime Association of the Port of New York/New Jersey, the Harbor Operation Committee and the Philadelphia Maritime Association’s Mariners Advisory Committee. His two children attended district schools. He is seeking his third term on the board.

ISSUES: Developing an annual budget that lets the district provide students with a good education that helps them get the best out of their experience is the board’s most important job, Bettinelli said, and is one the district has done well. Budgets have had slight increases but have not been out of line while maintaining programs, he said. “We’re building a new UPK [universal prekindergarten] center, we have a diverse population and we’re taking on language issues with special nights to bring families into the district, get them involved,” Bettinelli said.

Guy Leggio

BACKGROUND: Leggio, 53, is a lifelong resident of the district and works for Bricklayer Local #1. His wife is a paraprofessional in the South Country school district. He is a Bay Shore High School graduate, a U.S. Navy veteran and a former captain of the Bay Shore Fire Department, and was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2014. He is a retired wrestling coach at East Islip High School and has been a volunteer varsity wrestling coach at Bay Shore High School for the past two years. His children attended or are attending district schools. He is seeking his fourth term.

ISSUES: The district needs to keep taxes under control and make sure its kids are well-prepared when they leave school. “I bring a lot of common sense to the table and am always looking out for our community,” Leggio said. He added that it’s important to keep the community open on all levels and be aware of senior citizens’ needs. “I’m a blue-collar guy. I see what needs to be fixed,” he said.

James Notaro

BACKGROUND: Notaro, 68, has lived in the district for 42 years. He left Wall Street, where he worked in accounting and finance, 20 years ago and then spent 20 years working for the United Nations, where he was chief financial officer for the Office for Project Services. He earned a bachelor’s degree at St. Francis College and has a New York state certification in accounting and business. His daughter attended district schools, and he has a granddaughter in school in the district.

ISSUES: It’s important to deal with ongoing Common Core issues and find ways to work collectively with other districts as a consortium to repeal it, Notaro said. “It’s not one size fits all,” he said. “I don’t think Common Core is practical, and allowing the opt-outs makes the test self-defeating.” He also would look to improve academic performance of students as a whole. “There’s always room for improvement. I want to bring it to the next level,” he said, by working with administrators, teachers and parents to craft a plan to raise academic standards.

Michael Ruggiere

BACKGROUND: Ruggiere, 26, a lifelong resident, is a full-time student at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting in Westbury and earned a fine arts degree from the School of Visual Arts. His father is a retired teacher at Selden Middle School, and his mother works at Little Flower Union Free School District. He is a board member of the Gilbert & Sullivan Yiddish Light Opera Company of Long Island, an assistant coach of the Bay Shore High School dance team and a former associate director of Black Box Thespians.

ISSUES: Ruggiere said he would like to get students more involved in the community and with anti-bullying programs that teach tolerance and respect, using the diverse cultures at the high school. Increased fundraising by students will help teach business skills and also give them some money to sponsor activities, he added. “If you get students more involved on the business end, they have a better business sense when they graduate and it will give them a stronger foundation post-graduation,” he said.

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