TODAY'S PAPER
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57° Good Morning

BUDGET

SPENDING $51,148,849, a 1.24 percent decrease from the current $51,791,334.

TAX LEVY 2.9 percent increase, from $39,863,661 to $41,019,707. This is within the district’s 2.93 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes contractual increases ranging from 0.50 to 0.75 percent, with an average step increase of 3.2 percent. Adds a guidance counselor position, in accordance with state Education Department regulations, to be shared by the district’s three elementary schools.

PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 2 authorizes creation of a repair reserve fund for unanticipated, nonrecurring and emergency repairs to school facilities. Funding of the reserve would come from the unappropriated fund balance from the end of the previous fiscal year, and a public hearing would be held regarding any proposed use of the fund. Approval of this proposition will not affect the tax levy.

Proposition 3 authorizes creation of a $20-million capital reserve fund for school building improvements, renovations, alterations or construction. Funding of the reserve would come from unappropriated fund balance from the end of the previous fiscal year, and no money could be spent without a separate vote for specific capital projects. Approval of the proposition will not affect the tax levy.

WHEN | WHERE

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Norman J. Levy Lakeside School. www.merrick.k12.ny.us 

CANDIDATES

Gabrielle Curcio and incumbents Sigal Negrin and Gina Piskin are running for two seats, elected at-large. Terms are three years.

Gabrielle Curcio

BACKGROUND Curcio, 43, has lived in the district 31 years and is a 1994 graduate of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick. She is a self-described stay-at-home mother. Curcio has a bachelor's degree in speech communication from Pennsylvania State University and a juris doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law. She worked as a commercial litigation attorney for a small Manhattan law firm from 2001 to 2008 before leaving to raise a family. For the last five years, Curcio has been an active member of the Chatterton Elementary School PTA and is its co-president. Her two children attend district public schools. She ran unsuccessfully for the school board last year.

KEY ISSUE “All three elementary schools are having major work done this summer under a bond issue, and the work will continue into the next school year. At this time, there are a lot of things changing and happening at the schools, and as a parent with children in elementary school, I offer an opportunity to really give a voice to elementary school parents.”

Sigal Negrin

BACKGROUND Negrin, 48, has lived in the district 23 years. She is vice president of sales and events at RPM Raceway in Farmingdale. She has a bachelor's degree in psychology from SUNY Oneonta and a master's in social work from Adelphi University. She has served for six years on the district's audit committee and has been the district ‘s BOCES representative. Negrin was president of the Birch Hill Elementary School PTA for three consecutive two-year terms and in 2010 was honored with the Birch PTA lifetime achievement award. She has two children, one of whom currently attends a public school in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, and one who is a district graduate. Negrin, first elected to the board in 2013, is the panel's president. She is running for her third term.

KEY ISSUE “The most important issue that faces our district is school safety and security. We need to advocate for additional state aid which would assist us in ensuring that we can continue to provide the most efficient and newest security technology available. We also need to focus on mental health and have enough support staff to adequately address the issues that are facing our younger generation."

Gina Piskin

BACKGROUND Piskin, 55, has lived in the district 27 years. She is an administrative assistant for her family’s business, CCP Solutions, an office equipment seller in Farmingdale. She earned a bachelor's degree in history from Adelphi University. A school board member since 2007, Piskin has served for the last three years on the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District school board, whose members are appointed by boards in the component elementary school districts. She serves on the Merrick school board’s audit committee, which reviews district finances. Piskin volunteers for events held locally by the Robbie Levine Foundation, which provides Automated External Defibrillators and CPR devices for sports fields and schools. Her three children attended district public schools from kindergarten through graduation. She is seeking her fifth three-year term on the board.

KEY ISSUE “My key issue is school safety. It’s very important to me that the schools are protected, so we have upgraded all of our school security and provided security guards in all of our schools. We have upgraded school entrances, and are in the process of installing a new emergency telephone system, windows and doors in each classroom.”

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