7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Coram Elementary School, West Middle Island Elementary School, Ridge Elementary School and Charles E. Walters Elementary School.
The district proposes a $235,000,000 budget for 2016-17, a 3.52 percent increase from the current $227,000,000. The tax levy would rise by 2.01 percent, from $131,386,541 to $134,022,359.
The 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 2 percent, from $5,854 to $5,971.
The district is in negotiations with the teachers unions, so no information on contractual increases was available. The proposed budget does not include any cuts in programs or services or any additional staffing.
- District website:
Incumbent Philip Reany Jr. and candidates David W. Pfister, Christopher D. Reilly, and Linda M. White are running for two at-large seats. Reany and Reilly are running as a team. The highest vote-getter will serve the remainder of a term left by a resignation before starting a three-year term. The second-highest vote-getter will receive a three-year term.
David W. Pfister
BACKGROUND: Pfister, 44, is director of informational technology services at a global professional services company. He has a bachelor’s degree in technical writing from the New York Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in organizational management and a master of business administration degree from St. Joseph’s College. Pfister has two children attending district schools. He has lived in the district for 13 years and is on the shared-decision team at West Middle Island Elementary School and is PTA committee chair at that school.
ISSUES: Pfister says that the board needs “fresh representation,” adding that it needs to better reflect those parents with children in the schools, as well as community members without children attending school. His professional expertise in technology, including in information, security and privacy matters, would be a boon to the board, he said. Pfister said he also wants to live stream the meetings on the Internet to help get more community members engaged and improve transparency. He said he doesn’t believe in tying scores to teacher evaluations, but does think there needs to be more realistic and measurable evaluations.
Philip Reany Jr.
BACKGROUND: Reany, 69, is a teacher who retired from the Longwood district. He has a bachelor’s degree in social studies from Defiance College, a master’s degree in education from Ball State University, and a reading certificate in education from Hofstra University. He has two children, one of whom graduated from a district school. Reany, who has lived in the district for the past 19 years but grew up in the district, served on the board from 2005 to 2014.
ISSUES: Reany said his work as a member of the school board’s budget committee has given him the experience needed for the task. Common Core has been a big issue, he said, and he faulted the state for not providing adequate training for teachers and for not helping parents deal with the different way of doing math. Teachers’ evaluations should not have been tied to the rollout, either, he said. “It has some good things and some bad things,” he said of the curriculum. “But they tried to do too much at once.” Reany was appointed to the board this year to fill a seat vacated by a resignation. “It gives me the opportunity to give back,” he said.
Christopher D. Reilly
BACKGROUND: Reilly, 71, is a retired business owner and national consultant in the health care field. He has a bachelor’s degree in professional studies from Dowling College in Oakdale, and is working toward a master’s of business administration there. A 43-year resident of the district, he has three children who attended schools. Reilly has served on the board’s legislative, safety, budget, and policy committees.
ISSUES: Reilly says he saw the Common Core debacle coming because the state did not have the involvement and support of the stakeholders — administrators, staff and parents — in the initial design of the program. “These are the only people who can make the process change successful,” he said. He said he wants the “Cuomo-driven” annual professional performance review for teachers repealed, and instead institute a process where all are heard and included. “Let’s return to teachers teaching, children learning, and parents feeling confident and trusting again,” he said.
Linda M. White
BACKGROUND: White, 45, is a residence manager at a home for adults with intellectual disabilities. She has lived in the district for the past six years, in addition to the years between 1974 and 2004. She has an associate degree in community service from Suffolk County Community College. White has two children attending district schools.
ISSUES: “The opt-out movement has driven a line down the middle,” she said. She said she did not choose to opt out her own children, but she felt pressure to join those who did. “We need to respect both sides of this issue,” she said. If she joins the board, she said, she would work with her colleagues to communicate with the state education department to “offer information that parents and educators seek.” She said she also wants to join the board in order to address other issues, such as school safety and budgeting concerns.