TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Connetquot school district

VOTING

8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School, Ronkonkoma Middle School and Connetquot High School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $184,051,579 budget for 2016-17, a 2.15 percent increase from the current budget of $180,169,133. The tax levy would rise by 0.08 percent, from $120,725,577 to $120,823,886.

This increase 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 would increase by 0.09 percent, from $8,924 to $8,932.

The proposed budget would fund a 2.4 percent average step increase for teachers, but there is no contractual increase.

It would add 5.4 full-time positions in special education, support staff and elementary mathematics support staff.

A proposition asks voters for permission to establish a capital-reserve fund for future facilities maintenance projects. It would have no effect on the tax rate.

  • District website:

ccsdli.org

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Robert Grable and candidate Eileen Panico are running for one at-large seat. Terms are three years.

Robert Grable

BACKGROUND: Grable, 46, is a lifelong resident of the district. A principal at Mount Sinai High School, he holds a bachelor’s degree in athletic administration from St. John’s University and a master’s degree in elementary education from Dowling College. He has three children who attend district schools. Grable was appointed to the board in March due to a vacancy.

ISSUES: Grable said he has a unique perspective, since he graduated from the district and has children who attend the schools — including a child with special needs. “My education there served me well, and now I want to serve the community,” he said. “I have direct experience in my own building’s budget, and indirect knowledge of the whole budget in the district.” Grable also is involved in many subcommittees in the Mount Sinai district. “I feel like I’m up to snuff of the business of education,” he said.

Eileen Panico

BACKGROUND: Panico, 48, owns a trucking company and is an accountant and bookkeeper. A 20-year resident of the district, she has an associate degree from Suffolk County Community College and is earning a bachelor’s degree at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue. She has three children; one attended district schools, while the other two are currently in district schools.

ISSUES: Panico said she has attended most of the school board meetings in the past four years and said several things have bothered her, including what she said was a lack of transparency. “A lot of issues need attention,” Panico said. “I’m tired of being in the audience and asking questions and not getting answers.” She said there’s been “a lot of contention” on the board. And Panico said she would like to see the number of seats on the board increase from five to seven members. “I think it should be what the community needs,” she said.

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