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Long IslandEducation

Quogue school district

VOTING

2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Quogue School Library.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $7,839,014 budget for 2016-17, a 0.07 percent decrease from the current $7,844,539. The tax levy would decrease by 0.17 percent, from $6,853,789 to $6,842,051.

This amount is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 1.0012 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would decline by 0.2 percent, from $1,962 to $1,958.Salary increases are estimated, and range from 1.5 percent to 2.85 percent.

A proposition asks voters to give the district permission to contract with the Westhampton Beach district to educate students in grades 7 through 12.

  • District website:

quogueschool.com

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents Lauren Battista and Barbara Sartorius and candidates Steven Failla, John Mensch, Meredith Murray and Hector Joseph Silva are running for four at-large seats. While terms are three years, the fourth-highest vote-getter will have a two-year term, filling a seat vacated by a resignation.

Lauren Battista

BACKGROUND: Battista, 55, a real estate agent, is seeking her fourth term on the board, where she is the current president. She is a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross. She has been active in the district PTA and is a director of the nonprofit Quogue Association. She has two children, one of whom attends school in the district. The other attends Westhampton Beach High School.

ISSUES: The biggest issue facing the district is hiring a new principal and superintendent, Battista said. “Experience will be important. We’re in the middle of a search,” she said. “It’s going to be a big change and I’ve been on the board a long time, helped negotiate a contact and been involved in the PTA. My experience with the various aspects makes me uniquely qualified to help make it a smooth transition.”

Steve Failla

BACKGROUND: Failla, 42, is a social studies teacher in the Riverhead district. He has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pa., and has a master’s degree and a professional diploma in school district administration from Dowling College. Failla served in the Army Reserves for five years, has been a member of the Quogue Fire Department since 2010 and is a varsity coach in the Riverhead district. He has two children in district schools.

ISSUES: Failla said he would bring his experience, energy and student-centered approach to the board if elected. “As a teacher and educator I will make the team stronger,” he said. “With my experience I can make sure that all children and parents feel like valued stakeholders.”

John Mensch

Mensch did not provide information about himself to Newsday and could not be reached for comment.

Meredith Murray

BACKGROUND: Murray, 72, is a real estate broker. She is on the board of the Suffolk County Historical Society and the Westhampton Beach Historical Society. She has a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College, a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and a paramedic certificate from the former New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry.

ISSUES: Murray said she would focus on communication between the school and parents to make sure students’ needs are being met. She said she also would work on making sure Quogue students are prepared for the transition to Westhampton Beach Middle School. Murray also said she would make sure students have the training to take advantage of new and changing technology.

“It’s important the kids are totally versed in that, and we need to make sure they’re up to date on it,” she said.

Barbara Sartorius

BACKGROUND: Sartorius, 70, is seeking her third term on the board. She is a trustee for the Quogue Library and was a community member of the Shared Decision Making Committee before being appointed to the school board in 2009. She has a bachelor’s degree in art history from Lake Forest College in Illinois.

ISSUES: Sartorius said she wants to continue the district’s academic excellence while keeping the budget within the tax cap, and provide continuity as the district looks for the right person to serve as the new superintendent. “As a member of the Quogue community for over 50 years, I can bring value to the school board as a representative of the community at large,” she said.

Hector Joseph Silva

BACKGROUND: Silva, who declined to give his age, was appointed to the school board to fill a vacancy created when a former member moved. He is a retired administrator in the Brentwood district, where he serves as a superintendent hearing officer. He also served as a Marine. He has a bachelor’s degree in education from SUNY Plattsburgh, a master’s degree in counseling and guidance from LIU Post and a professional diploma in school administration from Hofstra University.

ISSUES: “Our students score at or above the 95th percentile in state tests. Maintaining this high level of student achievement is our goal and most challenging task,” Silva said. He also wants to help with the search for a new superintendent of schools who can make sure the same level of achievement and performance is maintained. He said the district needs someone who will relate well to this environment and has some middle-school experience and a finance background.

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