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Long IslandEducation

North Merrick

SCHOOL VOTERS GUIDE

BUDGET

SPENDING $33,107,869, a 1.89 percent increase from the current $32,492,312.

TAX LEVY 3.37 percent increase, from $22,761,266 to $23,527,976. This is within the district’s 3.41 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes a 0.5 percent salary increase for teachers and an average 2.18 percent step increase.

PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 3 would authorize the district to spend $1.53 million in capital reserve funds for districtwide paving and concrete work, track resurfacing, floor and ceiling tile replacement, roof replacement, tennis court refurbishment, abatements and other projects. Approval of the proposition will not increase the tax levy.

WHEN | WHERE

6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. at North Merrick Public Library, 1691 Meadowbrook Rd., North Merrick. www.nmerrickschools.org

CANDIDATES

Five candidates are running for three seats, elected at-large. They are incumbent Jennifer Hyland; appointed trustee Megan Ryan, named to the board last year for the remainder of the term of John Pinto, who resigned; and Gerry Acuña, Robert Crowley and Steve Enella. Board member Wendy Gargiulo resigned in February; her seat was left open until the election. Terms are three years.

Gerry Acuña

BACKGROUND Acuña, 41, has lived in the district for seven years. He is a home loan consultant with Valley Bank. Acuña earned a bachelor's degree in history from Stony Brook University. He is a coach for local youth soccer and Little League Baseball teams. His two children attend district public schools. This is his first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE “My reason for doing this is strictly for the kids. I want to be more involved with the community, in addition to the volunteer work I already do. Some members of our community feel that there are issues with some of the communication in the district, so one of my goals would be to alleviate that concern.”

Robert Crowley

BACKGROUND Crowley, 49, has lived in the district for 15 years. Crowley is a licensed Certified Public Accountant and is a partner with the Prager Metis CPA firm in Manhattan. He grew up in Lynbrook and graduated from Malverne High School in 1988. He earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from SUNY Old Westbury. Crowley was a volunteer firefighter with the Lynbrook Fire Department from 1988 to 2000. He has coached Merrick travel soccer and Merrick Little League/summer travel baseball for the last decade. His three children attend district public schools. This is his first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE “With a financial background I hope to install a program of common-sense spending that is fiscally responsible. The teachers union and the school board, which represents the community and students, have to compromise on spending issues."

Steve Enella

BACKGROUND Enella, 50, has lived in the district for more than 40 years. He has been the owner and operator of a home inspection franchise in Merrick for 18 years. Enella is a 1987 graduate of Sanford H. Calhoun High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1989 and served for five years, including during the Persian Gulf War, and was honorably discharged in 1994 at the rank of corporal. Enella is an assistant coach for his daughter’s travel soccer team in Wantagh. His two children attend district public schools. He was elected to the school board in 2012 and served until 2018, when he lost re-election by 12 votes.

KEY ISSUE “I am running to focus on the lack of transparency with the current board. We used to have three separate budget meetings — one a month strictly about the budget — but the current board rolled them into regular board meetings. So the community residents and parents never really got into the nuts-and-bolts of the actual budget numbers.”

Jennifer Hyland

BACKGROUND Hyland, 48, has lived in the district for seven years. She is a self-employed technology consultant for national businesses. Hyland earned a bachelor’s degree in hotel/restaurant administration from New York Institute of Technology and a master’s degree in telecommunications and information management from New York University Polytechnic Institute in Manhattan. She is a member of the Forbes New York Business Council, a national business organization. Hyland has been a PTA member for seven years and three years ago co-chaired the auction committee, which raised $20,000 for PTA programs. She volunteers as a parent leader for Cub Scout Pack 206 in Merrick. She chaired Camp Avenue School’s after-school Spanish language program for students from 2015 to 2018. Hyland has two children attending district public schools. She was elected to the school board in 2016 and is the board president.

KEY ISSUE “I am the board president this year, and we are proposing the second-lowest budget-to-budget increase in over 25 years while continuously improving programs. For instance, Spanish and Mandarin Chinese programs on Saturdays, an after-school homework club for extra help for students, and additional enhanced summer programs such as SCOPE educational and recreational activities. We do a lot with a little in North Merrick.”

Megan Ryan

BACKGROUND Ryan, 39, grew up in Merrick and graduated in 1997 from Sanford H. Calhoun High School in the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District. She is general counsel and chief compliance officer/executive vice president at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. She also serves as the attorney for the NUMC board of directors. Ryan earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Fordham University and her juris doctor degree from St. John’s University School of Law. She has been an active member of the Fayette Elementary School PTA for the last six years, and for the last three years has been a member of the district’s Special Education PTA. Last year she served on the district's technology committee. Her two children attend district public schools.

KEY ISSUE “To focus on the collaboration of educators and parents to increase opportunities for our children. I would like to increase communication from the board to the community, for open and respectful dialogue.”

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