6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Jericho High/Middle School.
The district proposes a budget of $122,669,127 for the 2017-18 school year, an increase of 1.36 percent over the current $121,024,051. The tax levy would rise to $107,561,115, an increase of 1.25 percent over the current $106,236,917.
This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 1.52 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.
The district said it could not calculate the amount of taxes the owner of an average single-family home would pay under the proposed budget because Nassau County has not provided the necessary assessment information.
The proposed budget includes a teacher salary increase of approximately 2 percent, which includes no contractual increase for steps 1-15 and flat increases for steps 16-19 averaging 0.3 to 1.7 percent.
The proposed budget also includes the addition of one curriculum associate for guidance, new course offerings, and technology upgrades, such as the continuance of a districtwide tablet initiative that would add approximately 550 additional Chromebooks and 285 iPads to the district’s inventory. In addition, the district would replace more than 340 desktop and 70 laptop computers, increase network speed and storage, and replace items including printers, projectors and SMART Boards.
There are two propositions related to capital improvement plans. The first would authorize the district to spend no more than $9,301,260 on repairs, upgrades and installations at various schools, with the funds coming from an existing capital reserve. Specific projects would include burner replacements at George A. Jackson and Cantiague elementary schools, door replacements at George A. Jackson school and Jericho High/Middle School, and renovation of home and careers science labs at Jericho school. The other proposition would allow the district to establish a capital reserve fund that would set aside funds for future construction projects. The maximum amount of that capital reserve fund would be $20 million with a term of 10 years.
- District website: jerichoschools.org
Four candidates — incumbents Jill Citron and Barbara Krieger, and candidates Samuel Perlman and Pam Wasserman-Heath — are running for three at-large seats. The two highest vote-getters receive three-year terms, while the third-highest vote-getter fills a two-year term caused by a board member’s resignation.
BACKGROUND: Citron, 47, is an attorney who has lived in the district for about 15 years. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and a law degree from Fordham University School of Law. She has been president of both the Jericho Joint Council of PTAs and the George A. Jackson Elementary School PTA, and served on the executive boards of the Jericho Middle School and Jericho High School PTAs. She also is a head counselor at Camp Wayne for Boys in Pennsylvania. She has two children who attended or are attending district schools.
ISSUES: Citron said the challenges resulting from the community’s changing demographic is an important issue. “It is important for people from different backgrounds to learn about each other’s customs and culture,” she said. “As a board member, I will continue to encourage efforts to help our community embrace and adapt to the diversity of our students and their families.” In addition, Citron said that students in high-performing districts such as Jericho can feel pressure to stay on top academically, making balance an important skill children must learn to stay healthy and happy. “While the district aims to provide our students the best, most current education, it is also important to remember the whole child,” she said.
BACKGROUND: Krieger, who declined to provide her age, is a textile business owner who has lived in the district for 30 years and is vice president and past president of the school board, where she has served since 1999. She is a board member of the Birchwood Civic Association and a member of the Nassau BOCES budget committee, and has served as a board member and officer in several Jericho PTAs — including the Jericho Joint Council of PTAs, the Jericho Middle School PTA, and the George A. Jackson Elementary School PTA. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University at Albany and a master of business administration from New York University. She has three children who attended district schools.
ISSUES: Krieger said the district must continue to introduce “innovative programs” that will prepare its diverse population for an ever-changing future. “Throughout my almost 18 years on the board, I’ve pushed for innovation and new opportunities for our students,” she said. “Initially, that meant introducing science labs and foreign language instruction into our elementary schools and technological advances throughout the district. More recently, I’ve advocated for early coding skills and robotics in the elementary schools and extending our computer programming instructional offerings at the middle and high school level.” In addition, the district needs to deal with aging buildings, she said.
BACKGROUND: Perlman, 47, works in the investment management field and has lived in the district for six years. He received a bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago. He also is a board member and treasurer of the Jericho Educational Foundation and division co-head of the Jericho Athletic Association. He has three children who attend a district school.
ISSUES: The district’s most important issue, Perlman said, is maintaining the funding and financial flexibility to continue to provide the “best educational experience on Long Island.” The district’s ability to continue to improve and innovate its education programs in the coming years will be financially challenged by factors such as a planned multiphase capital facilities plan, state-imposed tax levy thresholds, state-mandated retirement contribution rates, health insurance premium increases, and the removal of LIPA properties from tax rolls, he said. “With three children currently enrolled in Jericho elementary schools, I am focused on the long-term success of the district, both educationally and financially,” Perlman said.
BACKGROUND: Wasserman-Heath, 49, is a clinical psychologist who has lived in the district for 38 years. A graduate of Jericho High School, she received a bachelor’s degree from LIU Post, and a doctorate in psychology from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. She also is vice president of the Jericho Joint Council of PTAs, past president of George A. Jackson Elementary School PTA, and a board member of North Shore Synagogue. She has two children in district schools.
ISSUES: One of the district’s biggest issues is the high level of stress and pressure faced by students, which can have an impact on functioning and mental health and can be reflected in symptoms of depression, anxiety and addictions, Wasserman-Heath said. “My experience as a psychologist for 20 years will provide a unique perspective to the board,” she said. “I am comfortable listening to people express their concerns and emotions and I am very respectful of differing world views, beliefs and customs.” Wasserman-Heath said she would also evaluate each program to determine its efficacy and success for students. “Given the political environment surrounding the potential loss of federal funding and education cuts, I will work with the other board members to resolve financial conflicts and preserve the programs we have created, art and music included. My goal is to keep the Jericho school system a district of excellence for every child and family.”