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Long IslandEducation

East Quogue school district


7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at East Quogue Elementary School.


The district proposes a $23,861,579 budget for 2016-17, an increase of 3.49 percent from the current $23,057,502. The tax levy would rise by 5.83 percent, from $20,582,502 to $21,781,579.

This increase exceeds the district’s tax-cap limit of 0.64 percent, so the district would need at least 60 percent voter approval of the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would rise by 3.44 percent, from $5,521 to $5,711.

The district is in negotiation with its teachers over their contract. The proposed budget would not reduce programs or staffing.

A proposition asks voters to approve a tuition contract to educate East Quogue students in grades 7 to 12 in the Westhampton Beach Union Free School District for July 2016 through June 2019.

  • District website:


Incumbent Dianna Gobler and candidates Patrick “Skip” Heaney and Jessica Stalters are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Dianna Gobler

BACKGROUND: Gobler, 43, is a molecular biologist at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Gettysburg College and a doctorate in molecular biology and biochemistry from Stony Brook University. She is a member of the East Quogue Beautification Committee, the East Quogue School PTA and is a school science program volunteer. One of her children attends the East Quogue district. She is seeking her second term on the board.

ISSUES: Maintaining a high-quality education while being fiscally responsible is the most important issue facing the district, she said. “I will continue to work with state and local agencies to advocate on behalf of residents of East Quogue,” she said. Gobler said she helped bring payments from the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund from Southampton into the district — money, she noted, that helped reduce residents’ tax bills.

Patrick “Skip” Heaney

BACKGROUND: Heaney, 71, is a former Southampton town supervisor and town councilman, who held two positions in Suffolk County government. He also is a retired fencing contractor. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management from LIU Southampton and studied environmental science and public policy at Stony Brook University. He is active in a number of local civic groups and the Quogue Village Fire Department Company 1. His children attended district schools.

ISSUES: Heaney said he brings his experience to the table in the quest to maintain a high-quality education in light of budget constraints and their effect on education fundamentals. He said he would work with local government to make sure there are no surprises at budget time and seek ways to improve the local business climate so it benefits the district and lowers the property tax rate. “I’ve been following the impact of state-mandated budget caps on my grandchildren,” he said. “My own kids enjoyed an excellent education at this grammar school. The grandkids are getting the barest of a well-rounded education despite herculean efforts by educators.”

Jessica Stalters

BACKGROUND: Stalters, 38, is a special-education teacher in the Rocky Point school district. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and special education from Marist College and a master’s degree in literacy from LIU Southampton. A lifelong resident of the district, she is active in the East Quogue School PTA. She has two children, one old enough to attend a district school.

ISSUES: Stalters said she wants to give back to the community and would work to expand and maintain educational offerings to make sure the district doesn’t fall behind educationally after the tough budgets of the past few years. “We have far less in terms of programs offered to our students compared to our surrounding districts. We cannot continue this downward cycle,” she said. “I want to make sure we offer the best programs we can and I will bring my experience as an educator, parent and longtime resident.”

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