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Long IslandEducation

Malverne school district

Following a 30-year tradition, students from all four

Following a 30-year tradition, students from all four schools in the Malverne district participated in a celebration honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, at Howard T. Herber Middle School in Malverne. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Howard T. Herber Middle School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $54,527,002 budget for 2016-17, a 1.99 percent increase from the current $53,461,648. The tax levy would rise by 0.83 percent, from $41,029,356 to $41,369,468.

The increase is equal to the state’s tax cap, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

The district said school taxes on the average single-family home could not be calculated because it did not have assessment information from the county.

The proposed budget funds a contractual increase for teachers of 1.5 percent beginning midyear and a 2.67 average step increase. The budget does not include any cuts in programs or services.

A proposition asks for authorization to spend $1,601,762 from two capital-reserve funds to pay for window replacements and bathroom upgrades at most of the schools, as well as fund the purchase of a bus, among other expenditures.

  • District website:

malverne.k12.ny.us

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Michael Taylor is being challenged by Jeanne D’Esposito and Jan Kasal for one by-seat position. The term is four years.

Jeanne D’Esposito

BACKGROUND: D’Esposito, 52, is an attorney. A 23-year resident of the district, she received her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania. She is co-president of the Malverne High School PTSA and co-founder of the Long Island High School for the Arts STEM Parent Association. She has two children; one attended district schools, while the other is attending a district school.

ISSUES: D’Esposito said the district needs to find a way to expand the curriculum in STEM courses, particularly in computer science, as well as business and visual arts. “Fiscal constraints make that difficult, but I would encourage our administrators to pursue grant writing and explore other creative ways to bring that kind of programming to our students,” she said. She added that these STEM and arts programs are a “great equalizer,” allowing students in districts with tighter constraints and fewer offerings to compete with students in other districts.

Jan Kasal

BACKGROUND: Kasal, 53, is a graphic designer. A 22-year resident of the district, he has four children; two attended district schools and two are attending district schools. He is president of the Malverne Educational and Fitness Foundation, an organization that raises funds for equipment for after-school activities. Kasal has a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from a school for the arts in Prague and a master’s degree in Czech and French languages from Charles University in Prague.

ISSUES: Kasal said that after being involved for years with the district through his children’s education and fundraising, it seemed a natural move to run for the school board. It was the Common Core issue that got him more involved, he said. “I’m not against Common Core as much as I am against the method,” he said — including spending so much time in preparation. He also thinks the tax cap could “kill public schools.” “It was a 2 percent cap, but it is no longer 2 percent,” he said. “It is less than one percent this year.” Kasal said he wants to help make parents more involved in the process so they can see how the cap is affecting education, and come up with new ways to raise money.

Michael Taylor

BACKGROUND: Taylor, 45, is a courier for Federal Express. A 12-year resident of the district, he has a bachelor’s degree in marketing from C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, and a master’s degree in business management from New York University’s Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn. Taylor is the founder of the Malverne Wildcats, a youth football league. He has two children — one who is too young to attend school, and one who attended district schools but now attends a parochial school. Taylor has been on the board for four years.

ISSUES: Taylor said that it takes a while to get things accomplished on the board, so he would like to remain on the board to see some of his ideas through. One of those ideas is to market the high school to Ivy League and other top colleges as a place from which they should recruit students. “I would like the Ivy League schools to be aware of Malverne, and to see some of our kids strive for that,” he said.

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