TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

East Rockaway school district

VOTING

6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the East Rockaway School District offices.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $38,436,281 budget for 2016-17, a 1.16 percent increase over the current $37,994,804. The tax levy would rise by 0.27 percent, from $28,792,679 to $28,871,284.

This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority is required for approval of the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would rise by 0.08 percent, from $7,712 to $7,718.

The proposed budget includes a 1.85 percent contractual step increase and a 0.5 percent contractual pay increase for teachers.

It also would add one math teacher, a guidance teaching assistant and a new athletic trainer.

A proposition asks voters to authorize spending $200,000 in capital-reserve funds for window replacement and other projects, and another proposition asks voters to authorize spending $200,000 in capital-reserve funds for computer upgrades. There would be no additional cost to taxpayers, according to the district.

  • District website:

eastrockawayschools.org

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents Patricia Nicoletti and Kristin Ochtera and candidate Morgan Williams-Avila are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Patricia Nicoletti

BACKGROUND: Nicoletti, 64, is an elementary school speech therapist in another district. She has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and a master’s degree in speech pathology from LIU Post. She has three children who attended or are attending district schools. She has been on the school board since 2010.

ISSUES: The district is one of the smallest in Nassau County, meaning it has fewer resources to meet numerous state mandates, she said. “The question is, who will oversee these programs? How will these programs be funded?” she asked. Nicoletti said she believes she can balance the need to offer more and vigorous courses while keeping spending and taxes in check. “As a board of education trustee for the past six years, I have supported programs that enhanced our curriculum and provided additional support to our students without encumbering the already overburdened taxpayers,” she said.

Kristin Ochtera

BACKGROUND: Ochtera, 46, has lived in the district for 17 years and her two children attended district schools. She is director of education at an Episcopal church in Garden City, and has a bachelor’s degree in education from Hofstra University. She has been active in school district PTAs for more than a decade and was elected to the school board in 2010.

ISSUES: “During my tenure on the board we have rebounded” from the damage caused by superstorm Sandy, she said. She said the district has presented the lowest tax-levy increases in the past 15 years, but also has increased opportunities for students. “It is my personal goal to continue serving the community through this turbulent time in education reform,” Ochtera said.

Morgan Williams-Avila

BACKGROUND: Williams-Avila, 56, is a lifelong district resident and her two children attend district schools. She graduated from Hofstra University and the Fashion Institute of Technology. She is a compliance administrator for an elevator company. She also is a member of the East Rockaway Zoning Board and the board of the East Rockaway Library.

ISSUES: “Taxes. Taxes. Taxes,” Williams-Avila said when asked about the district’s most important issues. “I can make a difference with my budgeting skills,” she said. “I have saved millions of dollars for the companies I have worked for, and I want to help my school district become the fantastic district I know it can be.”

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