7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lindell Elementary School, East Elementary School, Long Beach Middle School, Point Lookout-Lido Fire Department firehouse, Bishop Molloy Recreation Center and 225 W. Park Ave.
The district proposes a $139,922,949 budget for 2018-19, a 3.4 percent increase from the current $135,326,640. The tax levy would increase 2.98 percent, from $99,078,437 to $102,034,891.
This increase is within the district’s 3.35 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.
School taxes on the average single-family house would increase 2.99 percent, from $6,614 to $6,812.
The proposed budget includes a 0.75 salary increase and a 2 percent step increase for teachers. It would add a new special education teacher; a net increase of 0.3 full-time equivalent middle school teacher; a net increase of 0.4 full-time equivalent high school teacher; a 1.4 full-time equivalent increase in psychological services; 1 new English as a New Language/Student Intern Coordinator and create a bowling team, animé, chess and mindfulness clubs.
There are also two ballot propositions.
The first would authorize spending up to $1 million from the capital reserve fund to build an interior cafeteria wall at Long Beach High School; install new doors and locks at East Elementary School, Long Beach Middle School and Long Beach High School and build a new security vestibule at the Nike Work Based Learning Center.
The other proposition would establish the 2018 Capital Improvement Fund.
The district says neither proposition would result in a tax increase.
Incumbent Stewart Mininsky and candidates Lori Montgomery, Sam Pinto, Tina Posterli and Ronald McHenry are running for two at-large seats. Incumbent Darlene Tangney is not seeking re-election. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Mininsky, 71, a retired HVAC and maintenance official in the school district, has lived in the district for 41 years. He has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Brooklyn College. He has served on the school board since 2012. He serves as the board president and previously was the board’s vice president. Mininsky is the founder of the Long Beach Booster Club and has served on board’s budget and capital projects committee. His three adult children graduated from Long Beach High School and has one grandchild at Lido Elementary.
ISSUES: Mininsky said during his tenure the board has been careful fiscal stewards of taxpayer dollars, maintaining critical programs and resources without breaking the state tax cap. He points to an increase in ELA programs for elementary school students, expanded teacher training and new business and culinary programs at Long Beach High School. “We have maintained programs while being fiscally responsible and meeting the diverse needs of our students,” he said. Mininsky wants to expand mental health programs for students facing emotional issues or struggling with opioid abuse. And he wants to provide more “brain breaks” for elementary school students. “Students need more opportunity for free play and recess,” Mininsky said.
Montgomery, 65, has lived in the district for 44 years. She is a registered nurse who retired in 2015 from East Elementary School after a 32-year career as a school nurse. Montgomery earned an associate degree from Nassau Community College and a bachelor’s degree from Molloy College. She was a union representative for the classroom teachers association for 20 years and chaired the Long Beach School District Nutrition Committee and the city’s Community Health Fair. Montgomery’s three children graduated from district schools, and she has five grandchildren who attend district schools.
ISSUES: Montgomery wants to provide increased services for students to manage the pressures associated with cyber bullying, particularly on social media. “Social-emotional learning is the biggest challenge to meet all students’ educational needs,” she said. Montgomery wants to increase the number of programs available to high school students pursuing a career as opposed to college. She would provide students with increased opportunities to internships at local restaurants and businesses. “All kids don’t fit the same mold,” Montgomery said. “And we need to serve their different learning styles.”
BACKGROUND: Pinto, 33, a Long Beach firefighter and paramedic, has lived in the district his entire life. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science and economics from Queens College and an associate degree from Nassau Community College. Pinto is a trustee at the Long Beach Public Library; president of the Long Beach Eastholme Civic Association; vice president of the Long Beach Kiwanis Club and is president of the Long Beach Professional Firefighters Association Local 287. Pinto has three young children. His oldest, 5, attends Long Beach-Lido pre-K.
ISSUES: Pinto said the school board is lacking members with young children and would benefit from new voices. Pinto said district schools should prepare students with more “active thought” and better life skills, moving away from standardized tests. “We should be focused teaching to the child and not just to the test,” he said. Pinto said the district must offer more mental health programs and services to combat bullying, violence and opioid addiction. “As a firefighter I can provide a different perspective to offer a different paradigm to work with on these issues with other school board members,” Pinto said.
BACKGROUND: McHenry, 31, a New York City Department of Education teaching fellow, has lived in the district his entire life. He has a bachelor’s degree in biology from SUNY Old Westbury. McHenry serves on the Concerned Citizens of North Park and sits on the executive board of the Long Beach chapter of the NAACP. He has no children attending district schools.
ISSUES: McHenry said the “mismanagement” of taxpayer dollars by the district “is a pressing issue. I will work to provide a high quality public education experience for all children.” McHenry also wants to focus on streamlining administrative fees and costs to maximize resources provided to district students. “I will make the students the central focus of the budget,” McHenry said.
BACKGROUND: Posterli, 52, works in public relations for Compassion & Choices, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for improved care and expanded end of life options. She has a bachelor’s degree in allied health professions from Ohio State University. Posterli led public relations efforts and programs at the Greater New York March of Dimes and Riverkeeper Inc. and managed 35 chapters for the Tourette Syndrome Association. Posterli is a past PTA co-president at the East School. She has a daughter who is a junior at Long Beach High School.
ISSUES: Posterli said the district’s school budget has continued to grow but test scores have failed to keep pace. She wants to develop individualized education plans for academically struggling students and increase resources for students who cannot afford additional help. “We need equity and parity across the board for all students,” Posterli said. “Private tutors are astronomically expensive . . . not all parents can afford them.” Posterli also wants to bring back the Budget Advisory Committee to provide outside perspective on the budget. “It’s a way to bring a level of civic engagement back to the budget,” she said.