9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Alfano Elementary School.
The district proposes a $200,962,132 budget for 2016-17, a 1.59 percent increase over the current $197,809,201. The tax levy would increase by 1.08 percent, from $88,740,847 to $89,703,273.
This amount is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.
School taxes on the average single-family home will rise by 1.31 percent, from $8,487.60 to $8,598.84.
The proposed budget includes 1.99 percent in contractual increases and 1.99 percent in step increases for teachers. Five staff positions would be eliminated through attrition. The proposed budget also calls for larger secondary school class sizes.
- District website:
Incumbent Daniel M. Devine and candidates Monica Hantusch, Glenn C. Mitchell and Monique McCray are running for two at-large seats. Devine and Mitchell are running as a team. Terms are three years.
Daniel M. Devine
BACKGROUND: Devine, 77, served on the board from 1996 until losing an election in 2002, but has served on the board since regaining his seat in 2004. He has lived in the district for over 60 years. His daughter attended district schools. He is active at St. John of God R.C. Church and is a member of the Knights of Columbus, helping to raise funds for local food pantries and individuals in need. He retired in 1995 as a therapy aide at the Central Islip Psychiatric Center therapy aide. He is chair of the Curriculum and Grants Committee.
ISSUES: “We’re one of the poorest districts and depend mostly on aid,” Devine said. “We’re trying desperately to stay under the 2 percent cap on tax increases and it becomes more difficult every year.” Last year, he said, an influx of new immigrants to the schools created costs that overran the budget and “we had to come up from the money, and take it out of the reserves.” He said the board was attempting to avoid program cuts and limit class size increases as they work out the details of the proposed budget. “We’re trying our best,” he said, “but tax increases have to stay under the 2 percent.”
BACKGROUND: Hantusch, 56, has lived in the district for 22 years. She is a court officer at the Cohalan Court Complex in Central Islip. Hantusch is on the advisory committee of the Suffolk County Children’s Center at Cohalan Court. She has an associate degree in business administration from Suffolk County Community College and a bachelor’s degree in behavioral science and criminal justice from the New York Institute of Technology. She is a lector at St. John of God R.C. Church and is a core member of Change CI, a school advocacy group.
ISSUES: Hantusch said the hamlet of Central Islip “suffers from high property taxes, high foreclosure rates and underperforming schools,” and that she would do all she could to encourage community involvement for change. “As a school board trustee, I will be a strong independent voice for our students and the fiscal responsibility of our district,” she said.
BACKGROUND: The 46-year-old corrections officer has lived in the district for over four decades, and has three children who graduated from district schools. She is president of the school advocacy group Change CI. She served on the school board from 2010 to 2013.
ISSUES: McCray said her top issue is “accountability.” She opposes asking “taxpayers for more money unless the district first uses available reserve funds in order to keep taxes down and decrease class sizes.” She said she would help put policies into effect to stop nepotism and conflicts of interest. “It’s a very stressed community, a very transient community and when they raise taxes and still increase class sizes and cut staff that’s a disaster,” she said, noting that classes “are already too large for a failing district.”
Glenn C. Mitchell
BACKGROUND: Mitchell, 58, has lived in the district for 42 years. He and his four children are graduates of the Central Islip school system. He worked as a mental health therapy assistant and aide and secure care treatment aide for the state department of mental health facilities, and also worked as a psychiatric aide at Brunswick Hospital Center in Amityville. He has been a member of the Central Islip High School restructuring committee and the district’s legislative committee, as well as several district PTAs.
ISSUES: He said “funds” were a top issue facing the district. “Hard work and understanding of the ... needs of the district is what we need,” he said. “I feel my over 40 years of experience as a student, parent, homeowner in the CI school district, as well as my years working for the state of NY and working with children K-12 gives me a true understanding of the needs for the community and staff of the CISD.” He said that getting more money into the district “would be the main thing we have to work on and we also need to have a better communication of what the district is accomplishing.”