TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Cold Spring Harbor school district

VOTING

6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School and the Ralph Whitney Field House.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $64,985,279 budget for 2016-17, a 1.55 percent increase from the current $63,992,053. The tax levy would rise by 0.85 percent, from $59,381,530 to $59,886,302.

The increase is less than what is allowed under the district’s tax-cap limit of 1.14 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

An estimate of school taxes on the average single-family home was not available, as the district is located in both Nassau and Suffolk counties, and the district said the share of the tax levy between the municipalities is not known until the state sets the equalization rate in August.

The proposed budget would include a 1.37 percent step increase and 1.25 percent contractual, or base, increase in teacher salaries. It would restore a part-time psychologist, and teaching or other staff positions would be cut.

A proposition asks voters to approve spending up to $2 million for building improvement projects, with $1.3 million coming from a district capital-reserve fund and the remainder from the operating budget. Approval of the proposition would not affect taxes, the district said.

  • District website:

csh.k12.ny.us

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Amelia Walsh Brogan and candidates George Schwertl and Lizabeth Squicciarini are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Amelia Walsh Brogan

BACKGROUND: Brogan, 55, is an attorney and registered nurse who has lived in the district for 23 years. She is the vice president of the school board, where she has served since 2011. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a law degree from Touro Law Center. She has three children, all of whom attend or have attended district schools. Brogan also chairs the Village of Lloyd Harbor’s zoning board of appeals and belongs to the district’s central parents’ council.

ISSUES: Brogan, who did not respond to interview requests, provided a candidate statement similar to previous years that identified the state tax cap and unfunded mandates, such as pension costs, as the biggest issues facing the district. While boards “have little or no control over state mandates, we must strive to balance the impact through prudent long-term fiscal planning and cost-saving measures such as shared purchasing, cooperative bidding and effective supply chain management,” Brogan wrote.

She also criticized the state’s testing program for placing “too much emphasis on scores while minimizing the complexity of the educational experience.” Brogan said the most important role of a school board member was to “empower and educate” the community to get involved to push for educational reforms.

George Schwertl

BACKGROUND: Schwertl, 51, is an automotive industry manager who has lived in the district for nine years. The Northport High School graduate is making his first run for a school board seat. He has eight children, four of whom attend district schools. Schwertl also is a Cold Spring Harbor Library trustee and said he is involved with fundraising for the Ronald McDonald House.

ISSUES: Schwertl said he is seeking a seat on the school board because he has children in the district “and I’d like to be involved.” He said compliance with the state tax cap would be a top issue for him, “but we’re doing fine with that, so I don’t think there are really too many issues.” The board “seems to be doing a decent job,” Schwertl said, citing a crowd of less than a dozen at a recent meet-the-candidates event. He said he supports the current school board’s recent hire of a new superintendent, and said he would seek to have “an open-door policy” with district residents. “Once there, I’d like to be the community’s eyes and ears,” Schwertl said.

Lizabeth Squicciarini

BACKGROUND: Squicciarini, 46, is a registered nurse who has stayed home to raise her children for the past 20 years. She has lived in the district for nearly eight years and is making her first run for school board. She holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Oswego and a bachelor’s in nursing from Dominican College. She has four children, all of whom attend or have attended district schools. Squicciarini also has served on parent-faculty and citizen-faculty associations at several schools.

ISSUES: Squicciarini said aiding the transition of the district’s new superintendent, who starts this summer, would be among the most important issues in the coming school year. She said she agreed with district goals of increasing the use of technology as a classroom learning tool and credited the current board with fiscal responsibility in light of the state tax cap. “They saw it coming, and they don’t just plan from year to year,” she said. “They look further down the road.” Overall, Squicciarini said, “I’m pretty happy with the way the school district is being run, and I’d like to continue that.”

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