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Long IslandEducation

Roosevelt school district


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial Avenue Elementary School and Roosevelt High School.


The district proposes a $96,550,887 budget for 2016-17, a 4.12 percent increase from the current $92,728,197. The tax levy would decrease by 1.43 percent, from $21,757,445 to $21,446,802.

This amount is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 1.82 percent, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would decrease by 1.54 percent, from $4,805.60 to $4,731.81.

The proposed budget includes a contractual step increase for teachers of about 3 percent, and the district plans to add seven teachers because of enrollment and for expansion of programs.

A proposition asks voters to authorize the district to use up to $1,754,490 from its capital-reserve fund to replace the Wi-Fi systems at three elementary schools and the first floor of the middle school, and to install a high-tech security system districtwide and for new replacement IP cameras and a network video recorder at Washington Rose Elementary School. The district said there would be no effect on taxes.

  • District website:


There are two by-seat positions open. Incumbent Robert Summerville is being challenged by Winnie J. Espada, James C. Major and Tzijane Morris-Brown, while incumbent Wilhelmina Funderburke is being challenged by Susan E. Gooding and Glenda Sanchez. Terms are three years.

Winnie J. Espada

BACKGROUND: Espada, 43, attended Queensborough Community College and is studying business at Nassau Community College. She works as a car-appearance maintainer for the LIRR. She has served as a building director for the Roosevelt PTSA and as a leader with the Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group. She has lived in Roosevelt for 13 years and has three children who attended or are attending district schools.

ISSUES: Espada said the district needs to continue to improve educational performance for students and stay off the state list of low-performing schools. She said Roosevelt should model itself off other districts for obtaining resources, programing and training for staff. Espada said administrators need to be held responsible to ensure taxpayer money is spent properly in the district.

Tzijane Morris-Brown

BACKGROUND: Morris-Brown, 39, has lived in the district for more than five years and is the director of Rozzies Day Care in Roosevelt. She has a master’s degree in human resources management from New York Institute of Technology and is a member of the NAACP. She has three children, one of whom is old enough to attend a district school.

ISSUES: Morris-Brown said she thinks youth empowerment is the most important issue for the district. She said students “need to develop the need for self-control and being goal-oriented.” She said she would like to see the return of the STEM curriculum to school to focus on science and mathematics. She would like to encourage more youth involvement and increase the high school graduation rates.

Robert Summerville

BACKGROUND: Summerville, 80, is president of the school board, where he has served since 2007. He previously served on the board in the 1990s. He has lived in the district for 55 years. He has an associate degree in real estate from New York University. He is a member of the Nassau County chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union and previously has served as president of the Freeport-Roosevelt NAACP.

ISSUES: Summerville said he would like to address the quality of education in schools and financing from the state education fund. He said the school district is facing “more pressure than ever before” to educate students and aims to maintain high standards. He said the district is facing more challenges to fund schools with a lower tax burden.

James C. Major

Major did not respond to several requests for an interview. In an interview last year when he ran for Nassau County Legislature, Major said he received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and money management from Adelphi University and has an adult teaching certificate from New York Institute of Technology. He said at the time he worked for the New York City Housing Authority as a housing assistant and was president of the Roosevelt Republican Club.

Susan Gooding

BACKGROUND: Gooding, 49, is a quality assurance analyst at Canon USA and serves as trustee and treasurer of the Roosevelt Police Athletic League. She also serves as cheerleading commissioner for the league. She is a lifelong resident of the district and has three children that attended district schools.

ISSUES: Gooding said she thinks the district needs to “provide a complete educational experience” for children in order to meet increased accountability. She said the district should give students a solid education to prepare for the world’s challenges. Gooding also said the school board should provide equal education to students, and she said she would listen and investigate issues before casting a vote. She also said she would work to make sure tax dollars are well-spent.

Glenda Sanchez

BACKGROUND: Sanchez, 21, is a student at Hofstra University, where she is studying political science, sociology and psychology. She is a member of the Lambda Theta Alpha Latin sorority at Hofstra, and has lived in the district for 13 years.

ISSUES: Sanchez said as a student who recently attended Roosevelt schools, she knows what is needed in the district. She said her main goal is to get parents and community members more involved in schools. She said she would serve on the school board to best represent the interests of students and represent all demographics. She said she wants to improve student performance and would work to increase the graduation rate.

Wilhelmina Funderburke

Funderburke did not did not respond to several requests for an interview. Funderburke has been on the board since 2008. She previously has said to Newsday that she is a retired business manager for the Nassau OTB and has three adult children, two of whom graduated from Roosevelt schools. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from SUNY Old Westbury and has served as chair of the Roosevelt Community Revitalization Group.

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