TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Long Beach school district

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lindell Elementary School, East Elementary School, Lido Elementary School, Point Lookout-Lido Fire Department firehouse and 225 W. Park Ave.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $135,523,692 budget for 2016-17, a 2.7 percent increase from the current $131,966,905. The local tax levy would rise by 1.68 percent, from $95,544,276 to $97,145,689.

This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase by 1.75 percent, from $6,231 to $6,340.

The proposed budget would fund a contractual increase of an average 1.62 percent, with no cost of living increase. It would add four permanent substitute teachers at the elementary level, special education, and English as a New Language classes. It also would add a full-time special education support position, and positions in part-time speech, the resource room, social studies, and art history and world language at the high school. There would be no cuts in programs or services.

  • District website:

lbeach.org

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Roy J. Lester and candidate Perry Bodnar are running for one at-large seat. The term is three years.

Perry Bodnar

BACKGROUND: Bodnar, 56, is a teacher at Long Beach High School who will be retiring at the end of this school year. Bodnar has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in biology from Adelphi University. A 26-year resident of the district, he sits on the advisory board of Long Beach Aware — a group to prevent underage drinking — as well as the district’s budget-advisory committee. He also is an administrator of the SAT, ACT and PSAT tests for the district. He has one son who attended district schools.

ISSUES: Bodnar says he would call for a zero-based budget so the board could determine what each program costs and whether they should be funded in the future. “Cost overruns and poor workmanship have plagued recent capital improvement projects,” he said, adding that the district has been forced to move money from other areas of the budget to pay for these projects. Bodnar said he wants all contracts and bids reviewed to ensure that they are complete “and taxpayers’ money is being protected.” He also said he wants the curriculum to serve all children, “whether or not they aspire to attend college.”

Roy J. Lester

BACKGROUND: Lester, 66, is an attorney who has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law. A lifelong resident of the district, Lester is a member of Long Beach Aware, a group against underage drinking, and is a U.S. Masters Swimming coach. He has three children who have attended or are attending district schools. He has been on the board for six years.

ISSUES: Lester said the most important issue is how the state’s tax cap has affected education spending. “While it is a continuing battle to not cut programs, it has become unrealistic for the state to expect us to fund all programs on a cap that goes below 1 percent,” he said. “Pressure has been put on and must continue to be put on our legislature to stop mandating programs that are not funded.” He said he is proud of the administration and school board for bringing important technology to students, such as coding studies, and for providing students with Chromebooks to help prepare them for the future.

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