TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Copiague school district

VOTING

10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Great Neck Road Elementary School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $129,306,488 budget for 2018-19, a 9.06 percent increase from the current $118,569,805. The tax levy would increase 3.16 percent, from $60,554,338 to $62,465,062.

This increase is equal to the district’s 3.16 percent 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 3.16 percent, from $7,477.74 to an estimated $7,713.55.

The proposed budget includes a 3.65 percent raise in teacher pay, which breaks down as a 1 percent contractual raise and a 2.65 percent step increase. The spending plan also includes funding for seven new teaching positions and one new staff member, director of security.

District website:

copiague.k12.ny.us

THE CANDIDATES

Three positions on the seven-member board, elected by seat, are open. Incumbent Laura Gavey is running unopposed. Incumbent Peter Robinson faces a challenge from Ledy Torres. Viscel Moore and Kenneth Urban are seeking the seat of Michael Greb, who was re-elected in 2015 and resigned in October; the person elected to Greb’s seat will join the board immediately to fill the remainder of that term. Terms are three years.

Viscel Moore

BACKGROUND: Moore, 47, is a time and labor implementation specialist for Automatic Data Processing in Melville. She earned bachelor’s degrees in public administration and IT management from SUNY Empire State College, and an associate degree in business management and economics, also from SUNY Empire. She is a trustee at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Copiague, on the executive committee of the Central Long Island NAACP, a member of the Copiague Chamber of Commerce and North Amityville Concerned Citizens, and is active in district PTAs. She has two children in district schools. Moore is making her fourth run for the board. She is running as a team with Torres.

ISSUES: Moore said she would like to see Spanish taught at the elementary level to take advantage of children’s ability to learn at that age. She also is in favor of a full-time librarian at each of the four elementary schools and more school trips. To help educate and protect children from gang and gun violence, bullying and vaping, she suggests the district partner with local community groups and organizations to offer assemblies and provide resources for children and families. “We need to get in front of that rather than being reactive,” Moore said.

Peter Robinson

BACKGROUND: Robinson, 33, is a high school social studies teacher in Lindenhurst. His mother, Patricia Robinson, was a Copiague teacher. He earned his bachelor’s degree in history at Penn State University and a master’s in teaching at Stony Brook University. He is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Copiague and the Suffolk County Historical Society and assists with Boy Scout Troop 284. He is seeking his second term on the board.

ISSUES: He said he would work to continue raising the district’s graduation rate and consider more safety measures to make students feel safe, in addition to steps such as adding vestibules at each entrance. Keeping up the school’s achievements on a tight budget is of high importance. “I will work hard to increase community involvement,” Robinson said. “I want to make sure kids and families feel this is a great place to be.”

Ledy Torres

BACKGROUND: Torres, 36, is a high school Spanish teacher in Lawrence and previously was an early childhood teacher. She earned her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and her master’s in Spanish, both from SUNY Old Westbury. She is a member of the PTA. Two of her children are attending district schools and one child graduated from district schools. She is running as a team with Moore.

ISSUES: Torres said she is running because she would like to see the board be more representative of the district’s population, including parents whose children’s formal education was interrupted. It’s important to have programs in place to help those students integrate and catch up academically, she said, including after-school activities and additional periods of instruction.

Kenneth Urban

BACKGROUND: Urban, 43, is senior litigation specialist and office manager at a Syosset law firm. He is a 1993 graduate of Walter G. O’Connell Copiague High School. He is vice president of the Copiague Youth League, treasurer of District 34 Little League, president of the Copiague High School PTSA and a member of the Copiague Kiwanis. One of his children is a 10th-grader in district schools and another is a 2016 graduate of Copiague High School.

ISSUES: Community and technology are key in moving forward, Urban said. He would like to see the schools become more involved in the community and would work to make that happen. One idea is a calendar system where approved organizations would post events so more people could attend. He also would work to boost the amount of technology available to students and to increase its use in the district.

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