Noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Michael F. Stokes Elementary School.
The district proposes a $63,389,838 budget for 2017-18, a 2.66 percent increase from the current $61,750,343. The tax levy would rise 2.81 percent, from $40,844,255 to $41,992,530. This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.
The dollar amount of the school tax paid on the average single-family house would rise 2.85 percent, from $6,325 to $6,505.
The proposed budget includes a 1 percent salary increase for teachers, which would take effect midway through the school year, and an average step increase for teachers of 1.5 percent. The proposed budget would fund a new part-time mathematics support position and the purchase of interactive white boards and microscopes for high school science courses.
It also funds new equipment for photography classes and adds intramural elementary and middle school sports programs and high school weight training sessions. It includes funding for a first-grade art club, a second-grade game club, a grade 2-4 leadership club and expanded Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) club offerings for elementary and middle school students.
- District website: islandtrees.org
There are three by-seat positions open. Ted Maleska and Dawn Garcia are vying for one seat. Incumbents Brian Fielding and Michael T. Rich Jr. are running unopposed. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Garcia, 57, has lived in the district for 13 years. She is a part-time computer teacher for a computer training school that offers after-preschool programs. Garcia has a bachelor’s degree from Stony Brook University and earned a certificate in graphic and web design at LIU Post. She completed coursework toward a master of business administration at Baruch College. She was co-president of the Stokes Elementary School PTA in 2012 and co-president of the Island Trees Memorial Middle School PTSA the following year. Garcia serves on the district budget committee and has two children attending district schools.
ISSUES: Garcia said that the district needs to expand its science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs by “building up” technology and engineering courses. The district should offer stronger coursework in computer technology, engineering and coding, beginning as early as elementary school through high school, she said — even to students who are not college-bound. Garcia said that the district should incorporate the federal Operation Prevention “substance misuse” program, which is designed for middle and high school students, educators and parents, in its STEM curriculum. “I feel that it is never too early to expose our children to STEM,” she said.
BACKGROUND: Maleska, 58, has lived in the district for 25 years. He is a general manager of sales for a tire distributor. Maleska has a bachelor’s degree from Waynesburg University. For the past six years, Maleska has served on the district’s budget committee, which reviews the annual budget and advises the school board. Maleska coached Catholic Youth Organization basketball at St. Bernard’s R.C. Church in Levittown, and he has two children who attended or are attending district schools.
ISSUES: Maleska said if elected, his business experience would prove valuable. “With 30-plus years with a major corporation, my business acumen will be a tremendous benefit to the school district,” he said. “My decision-making process will be fact-based.” He said as a board member he would know “how to separate the difference between a want and a need.” Maleska said the district needs to find a more-effective means of communication with the public to give “community members a sense of value for their tax dollars.” He also said the district prepares students well for college. “Island Trees graduates are going to very prestigious schools, due to the foundations laid by the Island Trees schools, and that doesn’t get a lot of notice,” he said.