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Long IslandEducation

Brentwood

SCHOOL VOTERS GUIDE

BUDGET

SPENDING $418,915,646, a 2.98 percent increase from the current $406,789,163. 

TAX LEVY 4.03 percent increase, from $107,737,688 to $112,076,801. This is equal to the district's 4.03 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Teachers will receive a 1.5 percent contractual increase, plus step increases ranging from 1.4 percent to 5 percent. No new programs are planned.

WHEN | WHERE

8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Hemlock Park Elementary School, Laurel Park Elementary School, Loretta Park Elementary School, North Elementary School, Northeast Elementary School, Oak Park Elementary School, Pine Park Elementary School, Frank J. Cannon Southeast Elementary School, Southwest Elementary School. www.bufsd.org

CANDIDATES

Seven candidates for two seats. Walter Bonilla and William Moss are challenging incumbent Robert Feliciano. Andrew Como, Kimberly Johnson and Mudnia Sheikh are challenging incumbent G. Paula Moore. Terms are for three years.

Robert Feliciano

BACKGROUND Feliciano, 52, is a coordinator for a nonprofit housing agency in Bay Shore that helps families in need, including people struggling with substance abuse and domestic violence. He is a 1984 graduate of Brentwood High School and received an associate degree from Suffolk County Community College in the late 1980s. He has four children — three daughters who graduated from Brentwood schools — and a son who is in eighth grade in Bay Shore. His wife and a sister-in-law are teachers in the district, and a sister is a school principal; all were hired before he was elected to the board in 2013. He has also been chairman for the Brentwood School District audit committee. Feliciano, the school board president, is running as a team with G. Paula Moore.

KEY ISSUE He says the current Brentwood school board has led a legal fight against the state for more foundation aid, to increase state dollars coming to the district. The school district also has sued Islip and the developer of the proposed Heartland Town Square project for not considering the district's needs when approving the project. "We've done everything in our power to represent the district and community at large," he said.

Walter Bonilla

BACKGROUND Bonilla, 43, is an associate at a financial firm in Hauppauge. A 1994 graduate of Brentwood High School, he has lived in the district for 27 years. He attended Suffolk County Community College and was certified in 2015 by the state and federal government as a financial adviser. In 2016, he co-founded the Knowledge Project, a not-for-profit organization in Brentwood that works with youth, including showing them how to apply for financial aid and scholarships. He's a member of the board of the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce and volunteers with Uplift Brentwood, Youth Enrichment Services in Brentwood. He has three children, of whom the oldest graduated from Brentwood High School; and a seventh-grader and a child who will be in kindergarten next year. He is running as a team with Mudnia Sheikh.

KEY ISSUE "There has to be more communication between the board and the teachers, and teachers and students, as well as the board with the community," Bonilla said. "That includes students and parents who don’t speak English."

William King Moss III

BACKGROUND Moss, 42, is director of academic affairs for the Lawrence School District. A Brentwood graduate and lifelong resident, he earned his bachelor’s degree in math education and child development from Harvard College and his master’s in education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He taught math for eight years at Brentwood High School and three years at North Middle School, until 2011. Moss is president of the NAACP’s Islip Town branch and treasurer and co-founder of the Brentwood Alumni Student Association. He has four children — two out of high school and 2-year-old twins. He's running as a team with Kimberly Johnson.

KEY ISSUE "The fact that our graduation rate is below 70 percent is a major issue," he said. Teacher training should be focused, he said, on how to improve student learning. He said the board should take a leading role in rewriting the school's curriculum.

G. Paula Moore

BACKGROUND Moore, 75, has worked for the school district for 28 years and most recently served as a human resources administrator. She attended New York University in the 1960s and took classes in business administration at Suffolk County Community College in the late 1980s. She served as recording secretary for the Mid-Island chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs from 2007 to 2011. She served on the steering committee of the Brentwood chapter of My Brother's Keeper. Her three children graduated from Brentwood schools; two sons are employed by the district, one as a teacher, the other as a maintenance mechanic. She was elected to the board in 2013. The board's first vice president, she is running as a team with Robert Feliciano.

KEY ISSUE She said the top issue is equality in funding, which the district has sued the state over. "We're owed almost $130 million in foundation aid," she said. She said she would continue lobbying state officials for more aid for the district. "The fight is not over," she said.

Andrew Como

BACKGROUND: Como, 69, a Brentwood High School graduate, is retired. A certified physical education teacher for prekindergarten through sixth grade, he owned a Century Twenty One real estate office and Realty Executives office. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and received a bachelor’s degree from John F. Kennedy College in Nebraska in 1972. His two children graduated from Brentwood schools and now are teaching in Florida. He is a past president of the Brentwood Civic Association, Brentwood Chamber of Commerce, Brentwood Youth Association and Brentwood travel baseball, a past vice president of the Brentwood Rotary Club and a past member of the PTAs at North Elementary School and North Middle School. He also has been a member of the Brentwood Touchdown Club, Brentwood Soccer Club and Brentwood Booster Club. A past school board member, Como serves on the school planning committee, the safety committee and the Parent Teacher Student Association.

KEY ISSUE He said the top priority should be getting rid of the separate Freshman Center for ninth-graders in Brentwood, which he said would improve safety, relieve overcrowding and save the district $1 million a year in transportation costs. He also wants to add an extra period to the high school day.

Kimberly Johnson

BACKGROUND Johnson, 30, is a Brentwood High School graduate. She is a nurse at an assisted living center and nurse educator at Eastern Suffolk BOCES. After graduating in 2006, she received a diploma of nursing from Eastern Suffolk BOCES in 2008, an associate degree from Suffolk County Community College in 2012 and a bachelor's degree in nursing from Chamberlain University in Illinois in 2018. She's currently a member of the American Nurses Association, a former president of her high school senior class, a member of the American Assisted Living Nurses Association and a dementia specialist. She has a second-grader at Northeast Elementary School. This is her first time running and she's running as a team with William Moss.

KEY ISSUE "One of the biggest issues is mismanagement of the budget. They're not allocating enough funds for academic and extracurricular activities."

Mudnia Sheikh

BACKGROUND Sheikh, 50, is a medical doctor affiliated with Northwell Health. She has lived in the district since 2004. She graduated from high school in Pakistan and medical school at Allama Iqbal Medical College in Lahore, Pakistan, in 1995. She completed her residency and fellowship at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola, and then another fellowship at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. She's on the advisory board for Domestic Harmony Organization, a Hicksville-based group that helps South Asian women suffering from domestic violence. She's also part of the New York chapter of Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America and the American Pakistani Public Affairs Committee. She has two daughters, one of whom graduated from private school and the other who is a senior at a private school. She is running as a team with Walter Bonilla.

KEY ISSUE "Brentwood is not up to par with other districts on Long Island," she said. "I want to give them the competitive edge that these kids need." That includes introducing STEM programs, music and art programs, and programs to increase student creativity.

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