TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Glen Cove school district

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Connolly Elementary School and Glen Cove High School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a budget of $88,209,126 for 2018-19, a 2.68 percent increase from the current $85,907,869. The tax levy would increase 1.99 percent, from $66,804,233 to $68,134,737.

This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit of 1.99 percent, so a simple majority is required to approve the budget.

School taxes on a single-family home assessed at $500,000 would increase 3.03 percent, from $7,059.31 to $7,279.72.

The budget includes estimated increases in teacher salaries and the loss of several positions, including four teachers and the equivalent of 1.5 staff members.

District website:

www.glencove.k12.ny.us

THE CANDIDATES

Three at-large seats are up for election. Incumbents Amy Franklin, Gail Nedbor-Gross and Maria Venuto and candidates Mary Murphy, Rosemarie Graziosi Sekelsky and Daniel Rios are running. Terms are three years.

Amy Franklin

BACKGROUND: Franklin, 54, has served on the board since 2015 and as president of the board since 2016. A 25-year resident of Glen Cove, she works as the principal account clerk for the city. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics and geology from Colgate University in 1985 and her master’s degree in banking and finance from Hofstra University in 1990. She has three daughters who attended Glen Cove schools. She is the former treasurer of Glen Cove schools and a former treasurer and vice president of several PTA committees.

ISSUES: Franklin said she is pleased with the progress the district has made in the last several years toward stabilizing the central administration. Several issues still need attention, she said. School facilities “need serious help,” she wrote on a candidate information form. She said the board was researching funding options through a bond issue to “bring the facilities back up to snuff.” She also would like to see the teachers’ contract settled soon, something she hopes she could accomplish if reelected. It’s in the best interest of the students, who she believes are subject to “excessive” state testing. “I believe it’s a parent’s right to choose whether they’d like to opt out,” she said.

Mary Murphy

BACKGROUND: Murphy, 61, is the district’s former director of special education. She retired in 2015. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary special education in 1979, a master’s in special education in 1981 and professional diploma in educational administration in 1986 — all from LIU Post. She has lived in Glen Cove for 31 years and has two children, a son who graduated from Glen Cove High School in 2010 and a daughter who will graduate this year. She is a member of the Glen Cove PTA, the Council for Exceptional Children and the Glen Cove Women’s Club. She is a trustee for the Ascent School for Autism in Deer Park. Murphy is running on a slate with Nedbor-Gross and Sekelsky.

ISSUES: Murphy said she brings a unique perspective because she has been involved in the district as a parent, teacher and an administrator. She wants to see the district emphasize safety and keep up with peer districts. “The district is on the right track. It’s not a Glen Cove issue; it’s something all schools have to deal with now,” she said. Murphy also believes the district should provide greater transparency regarding fiscal matters and decision-making to parents, students and the community. “The children are the most important thing, and our role is to help educate them and increase academic rigor wherever possible,” she said. “We have the potential to be even greater than we are.”

Gail Nedbor-Gross

BACKGROUND: Nedbor-Gross, 63, is a 33-year Glen Cove resident and works as financial director for Rapid Access Communication Enterprises Inc., an information technology company. She received her bachelor’s degree in management engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1977 and her master’s of business administration from Baruch College in 1987. She is a member of the school district’s PTA booster club. She has two adult children who graduated from Glen Cove High School. She has served on the school board since 2008 and is running on a slate with Murphy and Sekelsky.

ISSUES: Nedbor-Gross said she sees school facilities and safety upgrades as some of the most pressing issues facing the district. “They are older buildings and they need attention,” she said. She would like to see the district explore a bond to fund larger upgrades, instead of continued maintenance as problems happen. She also believes it is time to reevaluate school safety procedures and make sure students and staff are as protected as possible. It is part of creating an environment that supports students and raises graduation rates and test scores, she said. “I want us to be fiscally responsible and not overtax people,” she said. “I’d like to even see us employ more local people from Glen Cove.”

Daniel Rios

BACKGROUND: Rios, 43, is a personal trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He has lived in Glen Cove for 40 years and has three children. He received an associate degree in occupation studies from the New York College of Health Professions in 2006. His daughter is a fifth-grader at Landing Elementary School, his youngest son is in second grade at Deasy Elementary School, and his eldest son graduated from the Nassau BOCES program at Glen Cove High School. Rios is fluent in Spanish and American Sign Language and has experience in coaching youth soccer and working in programs for deaf children.

ISSUES: Rios said one of his biggest concerns is the lack of a teachers contract, which the district still is working on. He said he wants to focus on wellness for children and ensure students are being given a chance to participate in physical activity. He would like to offer extended recess on certain days, implement “physical meditation” programs like yoga and tai chi and expand extracurricular activities. He said he also would like to see the district offer more language and cultural programs. He believes it’s important to provide complete support for children, not just academic. “I’m looking forward to representing the families, their thoughts and their ideas,” Rios said.

Rosemarie Graziosi Sekelsky

BACKGROUND: Sekelsky, 62, is a former principal of Connolly Elementary School, a position she held for 24 years. A lifelong Glen Cove resident, she received her bachelor’s degree in education from Hofstra University in 1978, her master’s in education from Hofstra in 1982 and a professional diploma in educational administration from LIU Post in 1986. She is a member of the PTA and the Glen Cove Women’s Club. Sekelsky is running on a slate with Murphy and Nedbor-Gross.

ISSUES: Sekelsky said she wants to see the district enhance safety and security, a sign of the times, but nonetheless a priority. “I know the district is moving forward in a positive manner and I hope to be on the board to continue that,” she said. Sekelsky also wants to look at the budget and ensure the district is getting the most support for students out of its limited funds. “Each child is unique and it’s important to address all children’s learning needs,” she said.

Maria Venuto

BACKGROUND: Venuto, 52, is the executive director of Manhattan-based Standby Program, a nonprofit arts organization. She has lived in Glen Cove for 19 years and has two children who currently attend Landing Elementary School and Finley Middle School. Venuto received her bachelor’s degree in media studies and American studies in 1987 and her master’s degree in media studies in 1990, both from the University at Buffalo. She is a member of the PTA and the New York State School Boards Association. She has served on the school board since 2015.

ISSUES: Venuto said she believes the district needs building upgrades and is supportive of the board’s bond committee, which was formed to explore financing for those upgrades. “The district hasn’t floated a bond in awhile and our buildings need some work,” she said. Venuto also has been working on a farm-to-school program proposal and she hopes to be reelected to see it through. The program would bring in a farm-to-school coordinator to form relationships with farmers and stock Glen Cove schools with fresh produce. “I’m really committed to doing the best for our students,” she said. “I really care about Glen Cove a lot.”

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