TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Northport-East Northport school district

VOTING

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Fifth Avenue Elementary School, Dickinson Avenue Elementary School and William J. Brosnan School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $166,810,381 budget for 2018-19, a 2.15 percent increase from the current $163,306,840. The tax levy would increase 2.1 percent, from $142,972 to $145,977,791.

This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 2.38 percent, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 2.34 percent, from $6,800.52 to $6,959.32.

Teacher salaries are under negotiation, the district said.

The spending plan includes funds for more security personnel, as well as reductions because of an enrollment decline.

Voters will decide two propositions. One seeks authorization for spending $900,000 from the capital reserve fund on equipment upgrades and replacements, including door and window replacements, installation of bollards throughout the district and replacement of gates and fencing.

Another proposition would authorize the district to establish a $20 million capital reserve fund, with a probable term of 10 years, for capital improvements, upgrades and renovations. Funds would be transferred from surplus money in the unassigned fund balance, including a maximum of $1 million from the 2017-18 budget, and following that, amounts of not more than $2 million for each year remaining in the probable term.

District website:

northport.k12.ny.us

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents David Badanes and David Stein and challengers Victoria Buscareno and Thomas Loughran are vying for three at-large seats. Incumbent Tammie Topel is not seeking reelection.

The top two vote-getters will have seats with three-year terms. The third-highest vote-getter will serve a two-year term, because the district is staggering the terms of board members stemming from a proposition passed two years ago that reduced the number of board members from nine to seven.

David Badanes

BACKGROUND: Badanes, 57, grew up in East Meadow and has lived in the district for 21 years. A lawyer, he received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and applied math from Stony Brook University in 1982 and his law degree from St. John’s University in 2003. He has two children attending district schools. He is a former vice president of the board and is seeking his third term.

ISSUES: The district’s challenge against LIPA, seeking to reduce the assessment on its Northport power plant, is the top issue, Badanes said. “Obviously, the outcome of the litigation is going to have a massive impact on the finances of the district and taxpayers,” he said. School security also is a big concern after the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida, he said. “Security has become the forefront objective — keeping our children and staff safe is paramount,” he said.

Victoria Buscareno

BACKGROUND: Buscareno, 43, is a native of Northport. She is a special-education teacher in Syosset and her husband teaches in the district. She received her bachelor’s degree in early childhood studies/child development in 1996 from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire, and her master’s degree in special education from LIU in 1998. She is a co-chair of the Childrens and Teen Committee at the Northport Yacht Club and a member of the Ocean Avenue PTA. She has three children attending district schools.

ISSUES: As a teacher, Buscareno said, she has a special connection to current education issues. “I’m very connected to the teachers in my district. I know what goes on,” she said. The district’s big issues are the pending LIPA lawsuit and declining enrollment, she said. School security and mental health resources also are important. “It all goes back to mental health. Our district is working really hard on school safety issues — more security people in the building, but also mental health,” she said.

Thomas Loughran

BACKGROUND: Loughran, 39, is a native of Northport. He is a federal litigation paralegal, has studied political science at Suffolk County Community College and is currently enrolled at Fordham University, majoring in political science and organizational leadership. He was a member of the Commack Volunteer Ambulance Corps from 1996 to 2006.

ISSUES: Loughran said the district’s top issue is the LIPA tax assessment challenge. “Our budget is going to be severely hampered. Taxpayers are going to be extremely burdened and the kids are going to be the victim,” he said. He also is concerned about declining enrollment. “It’s going to take community outreach, working with other board members, teachers and administration to make sure the programs stay intact and we’re still able to provide the education,” he said.

David Stein

BACKGROUND: Stein, 44, is a native of Northport. A retired New York City police detective, he received his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Farmingdale State University in 1993. Stein is a member of the district’s Audit Committee and Security Committee and chairs the Facilities Usage Committee. He has two children attending district schools. Stein is seeking his second term on the board and is the panel’s vice president.

ISSUES: Stein said the district’s challenge of the LIPA assessment reduction “really has the potential to affect everything we do.” The district “has grown to enjoy a wide variety of experiences for the kids. The course catalog is what we’re known for,” he said. The potential change in tax revenue if LIPA is successful in its assessment reduction could mean “that we wouldn’t have the kind of programming we’re known for,” he said. “That’s why I got involved.”

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