Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Alden Terrace, Clara H. Carlson, Covert Avenue, Dutch Broadway, Gotham Avenue and Stewart Manor elementary schools and the Elmont Road Administrative Building.


The district proposes a budget of $86,409,734 for 2017-18, an increase of 0.67 percent from the current $85,838,433. The tax levy would decrease 0.03 percent, from $54,719,298 to $54,703,686.

This decrease is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 2.03 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

The dollar amount of the school tax paid on an average single-family house under the proposed budget would be $3,549, a decrease of 0.06 percent over the current figure of $3,551.

The district is still in contract negotiations for teacher salaries, but the proposed budget calls for no reductions to teachers, staff, programs or services.

A proposition asks voters to approve the Sewanhaka Central High School District’s 2017-18 budget of $193,070,535.


There are two by-seat positions open. Incumbent Raymond Sims is being challenged for his seat by Leslyn Stewart and Karen Taylor Bass, while incumbent Anthony S. Maffea Sr. is running unopposed. Terms are three years.

Raymond Sims

BACKGROUND: Sims did not respond to Newsday’s request for background information, but his profile during his school board run in 2014 identified him as a securities regulator who earned a bachelor’s degree from St. Joseph’s College. At the time, he had two children attending a district school.

ISSUES: One the district’s biggest issues cited by Sims during his previous run for the school board was to learn how to use technology to help increase the quality of education and also reduce costs. He said he would be honored to apply his analytical skills to help maintain and improve educational programs and keep them cost-effective. In addition, he said he would work to maintain community involvement and support because that is important for schools to improve.

Leslyn Stewart

BACKGROUND: Stewart is a registered nurse who has lived in the district for 13 years. She previously served on the board from 2015 to 2016 after being elected to fill a board member’s unexpired term. She has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Downstate and is studying for a master’s degree in public health, also from SUNY Downstate. She has one child who attends school in the district and another who attends school in the Sewanhaka district. She is also past immediate president of the Concerns of Police Survivors Metro New York Chapter, an organization for family members and co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty. She declined to provide her age.

ISSUES: Stewart highlighted bullying and cyberbullying as two of the most important issues facing the district. “We must continue to reinforce technology guidelines with our children,” she said. To do so, Stewart emphasized working with students to model online safety measures and collaborating with parents and community members in the process. The district must also “encourage parents to talk to their children regarding their feelings, which would help promote empathy and social awareness,” she said.

Karen Taylor Bass

BACKGROUND: Taylor Bass, 50, is a media strategist and entrepreneur who has lived in the district for 15 years. She received a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University. Her leadership positions have included being co-president of the Alden Terrace Elementary School PTA, president of a local chapter of Mocha Moms, and president and a board member of the Blues Babe Foundation. She has a child attending a district school and another attending school in the Sewanhaka district.

ISSUES: The district’s biggest challenge, Taylor Bass said, is parental engagement. “Progress and growth requires participation from all. My strength as a media strategist and public relations professional is to create a narrative and story which will engage all stakeholders to become involved, unify and fight for their children and community with passion and authenticity.” At the Alden Terrace school, Taylor Bass said the PTA was successful in raising membership from 34 members to 120, while also increasing attendance for various school events, programs and meetings. “My pitch to parents is to give me what you can, when you can,” she said. “If each parent and household simply gave a little time each week to their school district, we would be a stronger district coupled with manpower to build upon the vision of our community leaders, board and teachers.”

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