TODAY'S PAPER
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51° Good Afternoon
Long IslandEducation

Oceanside school district

VOTING

7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday at School #5, School #6, Oceanside High School, and School #8.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $153,863,333 school budget for 2018-19, a 2.48 percent increase from the current $150,144,641. The tax levy would increase 2.90 percent from $119,670,036 to $123,134,998.

This is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit of 2.90 percent, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.

The dollar amount of the school tax paid on the average single-family house under the proposed budget could not be determined because final assessment figures were not available.

The proposed budget includes a 1 percent salary increase and a 1 percent step increase for teachers. Nine full-time teacher positions would be eliminated, mainly through attrition, according to Christopher A. Van Cott, district assistant superintendent for business. Seven security monitor positions would be added for the Kindergarten Center and six elementary schools.

Two propositions are on the ballot. One would set up a $20 million capital reserve fund to buy property and equipment and make improvements, renovations and alterations to district buildings. The other proposition seeks approval to spend $750,000 in surplus funds from the 2017-18 school budget to complete alterations and improvements to district buildings begun with a $30 million bond issue in 2014.

District website:

www.oceansideschools.org

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Seth Blau is running unopposed. Stuart Kaplan and Charles Lyon are running for the seat of Kimberly Grim Garrity, who is not seeking reelection. Terms are three years.

Stuart Kaplan

BACKGROUND: Kaplan, 49, has lived in the district for nine years. Kaplan is a professor and department chair of mathematics, computer science and information technology at Nassau Community College. He received a bachelor of science degree in mathematics from the State University College of New York at Cortland and a master of science degree in computer science from Hofstra University. Kaplan’s two children attend district public schools. Kaplan is an active member of the district’s middle school and high school PTAs, and serves on the district buildings and grounds committee. This is his first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Kaplan said that among the major challenges facing the district is “maintaining and expanding critical programs for our students while respecting the tax cap and dealing with the myriad of unfunded mandates.” Kaplan criticized what he called “the overemphasis on both the federal and state levels on high-stakes testing, which is often flawed, and inappropriately tied to teacher evaluations.” Kaplan said that such testing “creates additional difficulties for districts to properly evaluate their students and professional staff.” Kaplan said that as a professor and department chair he has spent most of his professional life addressing college and career readiness. He said that his experience in “curriculum development, policy creation and budgeting” will help the school board “prioritize these important issues.”

Charles Lyon

BACKGROUND: Lyon, 53, is an advertising account executive for Richner Communications, a Garden City publisher of weekly newspapers. Lyon was born and raised in Oceanside and is a 1982 graduate of Oceanside High School. He has lived in the district for a total of 44 years. Lyon received a bachelor of science degree in television management from Syracuse University. Lyon previously spent 15 years working as a general agent with Knights of Columbus Insurance. He is a member and a director of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, and an officer with the Knights of Columbus at St. Anthony’s R.C. Church in Oceanside. Lyon has two grandchildren attending district public schools. This is his first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Lyon said he is running to continue a family tradition of service to public education. “My late mother, Anna Lyon, was the business manager at the Oceanside school district administration building in the 1990s,” he said. Lyon said he decided to run for the school board because, “There hasn’t been a contested school board election in recent years.” Lyon said that he hopes his candidacy will encourage other members of his community to run for the school board. Lyon said that if elected he will propose a maximum limit for school board members of three terms for a total of nine years. Lyon said that a three-term limit would allow board members to “establish a legacy” while providing “a change that would be better for the community.”

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