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Long IslandEducation

Huntington school district


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Huntington High School.


The district proposes a $129,812,991 budget for 2018-19, a 2.85 percent increase from the current $126,213,223. The tax levy would increase 2.68 percent, from $104,814,107 to $107,625,213.

This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 3.14 percent, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home are expected to increase 2.68 percent, from $7,970.63 to $8,184.32.

The proposed budget includes a 1 percent contractual increase for teachers and a 0.72 percent step increase.

The district plans to add computer science and virtual enterprise classes at the high school, using existing staff. The spending plan maintains the K-5 dual language program and expands the world language FLEX program to fifth grade.

Voters will be asked to decide two propositions regarding capital reserve funds.

The first proposition seeks authorization to spend up to $7.151 million from the capital reserve fund to cover items including construction of security vestibules at Flower Hill and Washington elementary schools; roof replacement at Flower Hill, Jefferson and Southdown elementary schools; replacement of two boilers at Woodhull Intermediate School; and replacement of tiles in an instruction room and bathrooms at several schools.

The second seeks permission to create a new $1.5 million 2018 Building Improvement Fund for repairs and reconstruction as needed to the high school’s turf athletic field, including masonry and site work. The new fund would have a term of five years and use existing surplus budget funds and appropriations to avoid borrowing through a bond issue.

District website:


Incumbents Christine Biernacki and Thomas DiGiacomo and candidates Michelle Deegan, Lynda Tine-D’Anna and Alvin White are vying for three at-large seats. Incumbent Emily Rogan is not seeking re-election. Terms are three years.

Christine Biernacki

BACKGROUND: Biernacki, 50, is an attorney. She earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Connecticut and a law degree from Hofstra University School of Law. She was an active PTA member, served on the district’s Safety and Shared Decision Making Committees and on the Committee on Special Education, and is a former board president of the Huntington Youth Bureau and the Huntington Sanctuary advisory board. She has two children in district schools. She is seeking her second term on the board.

ISSUES: Biernacki said she will keep three priorities in mind if re-elected — safety, academics and taxes — and will work to create a budget that funds programming and supports students’ needs without being irresponsible to taxpayers. Safety will remain a priority, she said. “It takes everyone to keep everyone safe, and we have to work as a community and keep our eyes open,” she said.

Michelle Deegan

BACKGROUND: Deegan, 49, is a recruiter for a company that handles placements for building, architecture, design and construction companies. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English at SUNY Brockport. She has been active in PTA and is membership coordinator for the Huntington Booster Club. She has a son in district schools.

ISSUES: Deegan said she will lobby vigorously for increased state aid if elected, elevating the level of her longtime advocacy for children. She also encourages community participation through volunteering. Expanding extracurricular activities based on academic programs is something she will work toward. “I want to make sure academics and extracurriculars complement each other,” Deegan said. “It’s part of what makes Huntington so strong.”

Thomas DiGiacomo

BACKGROUND: DiGiacomo, 56, works in technology sales. He is a Huntington High graduate and earned his associate degree in business at Farmingdale State College. He has a child in district schools. DiGiacomo is seeking his third term on the board.

ISSUES: The district has reopened one building as a STEM magnet school, added prekindergarten programs and realigned the primary buildings back to a K-3 format during his tenure on the board, DiGiacomo said. He would like to see more educational or extracurricular technology-related programs offered, including programming, coding and artificial intelligence, perhaps a broadcasting program, and consideration to offering vocational technology in-house. He said his business experience will help guide the financial planning the district needs to make that happen.

Lynda Tine-D’Anna

BACKGROUND: Tine-D’Anna, 47, is a foreign language teacher at Syosset High School. She earned her bachelor’s degree in romance languages at Dowling College and her master’s degree in Italian literature at Stony Brook University. She is a founding member and former president of Down Syndrome Connection of Long Island and a former Special Education PTA board member. Her husband is a teacher in the Harborfields schools and her brother is a teacher in the Commack system. She has four children attending district schools.

ISSUES: Tine-D’Anna said she would bring to the board the perspective of a veteran educator, as well as that of the child of an immigrant. She wants to tap the collective knowledge and expertise of district residents to keep things going in the right direction. Increasing parent involvement with more Parent University workshop events, town-hall-style listening forums and teacher-led professional development opportunities also are goals she said she would work toward.

Alvin White

BACKGROUND: White, 64, retired as the Huntington system’s director of facilities in 2015 after 37 years working in the district. He is an advocate for families and is involved in numerous community and civic organizations. He served on the Lowndes Avenue Task Force and Huntington Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee and was recognized as the NAACP’s Man of the Year. His seven children graduated from Huntington High School and he has grandchildren in district schools.

ISSUES: White said he would work to make sure security, which already is strong, remains up to standards, and advocate for students as he has always done. He said he will continue to support the district’s athletic teams and football program and make sure students who need services get the help they need and don’t fall between the cracks. “I’ll be an effective and active board member and help bridge the gap with the minority community,” White said.

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