TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Elwood school district

VOTING

2 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at Elwood Middle School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $59,891,409 budget for 2016-17, an increase of 0.68 percent from the current $59,484,516. The tax levy would increase by 1.88 percent, from $43,560,749 to $44,379,690.

This increase exceeds the district’s tax-cap limit of 0.66 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 $9,953 to $10,295.

The proposed budget calls for an average teacher salary increase of 2.12 percent — a contract increase is 0.5 percent and a step increase is 1.62 percent. Five full-time-equivalent teaching positions would be cut — three because of declining enrollment, while the other two would be divided among various subject areas at the high school.

  • District website:

elwood.k12.ny.us

THE CANDIDATES

Heather Ross and Debbie Weiss are running for one at-large seat. The term is three years.

Heather Ross

BACKGROUND: Ross, 38, has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dartmouth College. She has served as Elwood Council PTA treasurer and held other PTA posts and is on several board of education committees, including curriculum, facilities, teaching and smart bond. She also is a member of the Elwood Taxpayers Association. Ross has three children in district schools and one too young to attend school.

ISSUES: Maintaining the district’s financial stability is the biggest issue, Ross said. She said she will work to balance the budget and retain student programs by reducing administrative and nonessential costs. “Thinking creatively about how we can decrease expenses will help – maybe we can host dance competitions and use the rent money to refurbish the auditorium,” she said. “Or explore putting solar panels on the roof to get a new roof. We need to decrease expenses while we increase revenue.”

Debbie Weiss

BACKGROUND: Weiss, 51, has a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Texas A&M University. She has served as president of the Elwood PTA Council and has been a Girl Scout leader. She has three children attending district schools and one adult child who attended district schools.

ISSUES: Fiscal stability for the district is the biggest issue going forward, Weiss said. She said she will seek legislative relief for unfunded mandates and other financial restrictions while continuing to provide “an exceptional education to our children.” Weiss said she plans to work with the new superintendent to build a five-year plan and give kids the best opportunities possible while not raising taxes. “That’s where my expertise comes in,” she said. “I learned through government to work within parameters but be creative.”

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