TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

East Rockaway

BUDGET

SPENDING $40,298,143, a 2.22 percent increase from the current $39,422,943.

TAX LEVY 2.94 percent increase, from $29,802,571 to $30,680,177. This is within the district’s 3.19 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes a 1.85 percent step increase and a 1 percent contract salary increase. The proposed budget adds 1.5 new staff members, two additional coaching staff members and one club. 

PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 2 authorizes using up to $200,000 for computer hardware, network and smart classrooms, using money from the capital reserve fund. Upgrades include equipment, construction and financing costs from existing reserves at no additional cost to taxpayers. 

WHEN | WHERE

6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. at East Rockaway Unified School District, 443 Ocean Ave. www.eastrockawayschools.org

CANDIDATES

Four candidates for two at-large seats. Incumbent Kristin Ochtera, Theresa Devlin, Kristen O'Hagan and Peter McNally. Incumbent Patricia Nicoletti is not seeking re-election. The terms are three years.

Theresa Devlin 

BACKGROUND Devlin, 55, is an office manager and administrator for assistance to the elderly in Lynbrook. She is also an adoptive foster parent trainer in East Rockaway. Devlin has lived in East Rockaway for 21 years and has served as the director of the East Rockaway Education Foundation and in various PTA positions and is an active Nassau County foster parent. She has four children — three in East Rockaway schools and one a graduate of the district.

KEY ISSUE Devlin says she wants to pursue fiscal support for education from the state and continue advancing education without piercing the tax cap. She said the district should continue improving classes and offer more AP classes while switching the six-day class cycle. She says she wants to see a wider class offering, featuring foreign language and sign language. She said the district should be financially conservative and she supported the district adding classes and technology while remaining on a tight budget.

Kristen O'Hagan

BACKGROUND O'Hagan, 42, has lived in the district for 42 years. She is an English teacher at Malverne High School. She has a bachelor of arts degree in English and secondary education from Queens College. She has two children attending schools in the district and two children who have graduated from East Rockaway High School. She is director of East Rockaway Recreation and a preschool coordinator. She is a board member on the coalition for youth and a class adviser for several programs at Malverne High School. She is running on a ticket with Peter McNally 

KEY ISSUE She said the district should have a plan to support students in the universal accelerated program and push regent level courses, but also support students who may not be ready for advanced course work. She said she supported mental health opportunities for students to manage stress of classes and testing. She wants to push for mindfulness opportunities as well as guidance counselors and social programs in elementary and middle schools. She said the district should maintain a budget under the tax cap.

Kristin Ochtera

BACKGROUND Ochtera, 46, has lived in the district for19 years. She has two children who are district graduates. She works as a consultant for the Hance Family Foundation in Elmont and for GoCAMPUSing, arranging college tours. She has a bachelor’s degree in education from Hofstra University. She is the board vice president and has served on the school board for nine years. She has previously served as board president.

KEY ISSUE Ochtera says the district will continue to provide program growth and increased student achievement while remaining under the tax cap. She says the state is short of meeting a foundation aid burden of more than $534,000. She said she wanted to make sure the district was represented in the 2020 census, including families in rental properties, minorities and families with small children. She said the board needed to make sure county and state government gave the district a fair share of aid to give relief from state mandates and to taxpayers. 

Peter McNally

BACKGROUND McNally, 52, has lived in the district for 15 years and is a teacher in the Lynbrook School District. His wife is a teacher in the Island Trees School District and they have two children in East Rockaway schools. He has a bachelor’s degree in educational technology from C.W. Post. He is head coach of the varsity track team and varsity cross country and cross-country skiing teams. He is running on a ticket with Kristen O’Hagan.

KEY ISSUE McNally says it is essential that the district increase the opportunity for all students and embrace a collaborative culture among students, parents and teachers. He and O’Hagan have a combined 40 years of experience, he said, and would be committed to building the future of the community, while protecting taxpayers.

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