TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

East Moriches school district

VOTING

1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at East Moriches Elementary School.

THE BUDGET

The district has proposed a $26,874,825 budget for 2016-17, a 0.93 percent increase from the current $26,626,268. The tax levy would increase by 2.51 percent, from $19,129,167 to $19,609,982.

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 2.49 percent, from $9,980 to $10,229.

The budget includes a salary increase for teachers of 1.75 percent, a figure which reflects the second year of a half-step giveback.

A proposition asks voters to allow students to attend Center Moriches, Eastport-South Manor or Westhampton Beach high schools.

  • District website:

emoschools.org

THE CANDIDATES

Candidate Jennifer Burke and incumbents John Oats and Lori Pagano are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Jennifer Burke

BACKGROUND: Burke, 42, is a teacher in the Rocky Point district. She earned her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and school district administrator certification at Stony Brook University. She is chairwoman of the English as a New Language Department at Rocky Point and is active in the Rocky Point and East Moriches PTAs. She has two children that attend district schools.

ISSUES: How the district deals with the many changes over the next few years will be the most important issue it faces, Burke said. The board needs to focus on the upcoming changes and make sure it provides clear communication with the community and staff. She said her background in education and community ties would serve the board well. “I will be able to offer valuable insight from multiple perspectives to help address these changes,” she said.

John Oats

BACKGROUND: Oats, 64, is an ophthalmologist and serves as president of the Suffolk County Ophthalmological Society. He has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. John’s University and a medical degree from Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine. He was first elected to the school board in 2013, and his son attends a district school.

ISSUES: “The district is running pretty smoothly, the budget is under control and it is under the cap for the third year in a row,” Oats said. He said Common Core needs tweaking because too much weight is given to scores for teacher evaluations, and Oats said he would monitor developments and make sure people had their questions answered. “I see both sides of the argument,” he said.

Lori Pagano

BACKGROUND: Pagano, who declined to give her age, is a retired certified public accountant. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from LIU Post. Her son attended East Moriches through eighth grade and graduated from Westhampton Beach High School. She has served on the board for seven years.

ISSUES: As a certified public accountant, board member and taxpayer in East Moriches, Pagano said her concern is to stay on budget and under the tax cap. “Since we are a small district, we have to carefully balance our spending on all areas,” she said. “I believe our administration has been successful in achieving this as long as I have been on the board.”

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