TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Oyster Bay High School library.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a budget of $57,607,530 for 2018-19, a 2.32 percent increase from the current $56,302,323. The tax levy would rise 1.72 percent, from $50,835,595 to $51,709,424.

The increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 2.61 percent, so a simple majority would approve the budget. The school district said it was unable to calculate taxes paid on an average single-family home because Nassau County has not provided the necessary assessment information.

The budget calls for a 1 percent contractual increase for teachers, plus a half-step increase. And it includes the hiring of additional security staff at each building.

The ballot will contain three propositions. One would allow the district to spend $1,135,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund to replace playground surfaces and install a field house at the James H. Vernon School, add more ventilation in the locker rooms at Oyster Bay High School and upgrade bathrooms and replace some asphalt in the Theodore Roosevelt School.

Another would allow the district to spend an amount not to exceed $900,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund and undesignated/unreserved surplus to install air conditioning in the auditorium of Oyster Bay High School.

A third would establish a capital reserve fund known as The Technology Reserve. It would add a maximum of $1 million a year over 10 years to this fund, not to exceed $10 million.

District website:

www.obenschools.org

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Ann Marie Longo is competing against Nancy Castrogiovanni and Maryann Santos for two at-large seats; incumbent Michael Castellano is not seeking re-election. The terms for the two seats are four years each.

Nancy Castrogiovanni

Background: Castrogiovanni, 52, has lived 17 years in the school district. She is a director of human resources, and not employed by the school district. Castrogiovanni has a master’s of business administration from St. John’s University. She is the treasurer for the Oyster Bay Athletic Booster Club, and is a past president and treasurer of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich PTSA, and past treasurer of the OBEN Elementary Parent Teacher Association. She’s had two children go through the OBEN school system, along with a current daughter in eighth grade in Oyster Bay High School.

Issues: Said Castrogiovanni, “One of the most important issues facing our district is improving academic excellence and exam scores, including AP scores.” She said the district should look to develop its technology curriculum and explore hiring a dedicated teacher/supervisor to focus on this area of need. “This person would also be responsible for increasing the number of competition and research opportunities for our students,” she said.

Ann Marie Longo

Background: Longo, 58, has lived all her life in the district. She is a strategic sales manager, not employed by the school district. Longo has a bachelor’s in marketing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She has been a member of the OBEN board of education for 12 years. Currently the board vice president, she had served five years as president. She’s had three children go through the OBEN school system.

Issues: Longo said two important issues facing the district are security and technology. “Unfortunately, in today’s world school districts have to concern themselves with increasing security,” she said. She said the district has implemented “processes, procedures and products” in recent years that have enhanced security in the schools. The district, she added, needs to continue to look at ways to enhance security even further. “Technology,” Longo said, “is a great tool for our students” and “our schools need to constantly look at all the different options that are available . . . and make appropriate investment in technology to enable our students to continue to grow and learn.”

Maryann Santos

Background: Santos, 53, has lived 22 years in the district. She is an attorney specializing in municipal finance, not employed by the school district. She has a bachelor’s degree in accounting, a CPA, a master’s in business administration in taxation and a law degree, all from St. John’s University. She served on the OBEN board of education from 2011 to 2015. She is a member of Emerging Women Leaders, a group sponsored by Capital One Bank. She’s had four children go through the OBEN school system.

Issues: Santos said she’s heard one consistent message from community members: “We must provide this next generation of children with a K-12 curriculum that empowers our students to fulfill their postsecondary educational goals.” The district’s relatively small size sometimes limits its ability to provide a vast array of choices, she said. “We need to leverage technology,” she said, “to diversify the programs that we deliver.” It is critically important for OBEN board members to set policy and consistently evaluate the effectiveness of programs, she said. Santos said she believes a community is defined by the strength of its public education and its financial condition. Noting that she has been in banking for 25 years, she said she has a deep understanding of school district budgets and finance issues, which she would like to share with the community.

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