6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Cayuga Elementary School, Chippewa Elementary School, Gatelot Avenue School, Grundy Avenue Elementary School, Hiawatha Elementary School, Lynwood Avenue Elementary School, Merrimac Elementary School, Nokomis Elementary School, Tamarac Elementary School, Tecumseh Elementary School, Waverly Avenue Elementary School and Wenonah Elementary School.
The district proposes a $306,407,294 budget for 2016-17, a 2.7 percent increase from the current $298,363,205. The tax levy would increase 0.76 percent, from $169,779,032 to $171,070,969.
This increase is equal to what is allowed under the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget.
School taxes on an average single-family home would rise from $5,349 to $5,389. While that change is a 0.74 percent increase, district officials said they calculate the estimated effect on taxes on the average single-family home by averaging the tax increases in the three towns included in the district — for a 0.76 percent increase, the same as the district’s tax cap.
The proposed budget calls for reducing 54 teacher and staff positions because of school closings, while adding three nurses, six custodians and three school communication aides. Teacher salaries are subject to negotiations.
- District website:
Incumbent Tony Falco and candidates Bevin Llanes, Carol Locklin, Mike Matlat, Alexander Wilson and Sara Wottawa are running for three at-large seats. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Falco, 74, is the current board president. He has served on the board for 31 years and has been president six times. He is a retired New York City police officer with four grown children who attended district schools. He also is a board member for the nonprofit Sachem Advisory Group.
ISSUES: “We’re concerned about reduced enrollments,” Falco said, noting the district is closing three schools. “We have to tighten up what we have,” he said, “and be specifically careful in how we use our funds.” He said with two incumbents leaving the board, his years of experience will be valuable. “You can’t forget history,” he said.
BACKGROUND: Llanes, 46, is a paralegal with four children who attended or are attending district schools. She has an associate degree in paralegal studies from Briarcliffe College. Llanes was on the district facility committee, and is currently on the budget advisory, legislative committee, PTA council, and Sachem Substance Abuse Task Force.
ISSUES: Llanes said the district needs to improve both “our fiscal standing and our educational standing.” She also wants to brainstorm “low to no-cost educational enhancements.”
BACKGROUND: Locklin, 44, of Lake Grove, is a stay-at-home mother with three children attending Sachem schools. She received certification as a electrocardiogram technician and certifications in medical terminology and records in from Eastern Suffolk BOCES. She is part of the Wenonah PTA.
ISSUES: Locklin said the district is in a “fiscal crisis” and that if elected, she would “identify cost-saving measures based on reallocation of economic and human resources informed by data.” She said she would lobby elected officials to end the “seesaw” of state funding and program cuts.
BACKGROUND: Matlat, 48, is a real estate consultant with three children in district schools. He received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Flagler College in Florida and a master’s degree in education from Dowling College. He coached sports at Sachem Sports Club and Sachem East High School.
ISSUES: Matlat said he is concerned the district is closing schools only 12 years after having built new buildings. His professional background would help the board “maximize the value of their assets,” he said. “What’s the best solution that’s going to be for that asset? Take a look at all the opportunities” with district resources.
BACKGROUND: Wottawa, 34, is a vocational trainer with two children in district schools. She attended Suffolk County Community College and Dowling College, and is a member of the Sachem Budget Advisory Committee and district liaison for the Long Island Opt-out group.
ISSUES: Wottawa said she wants to tackle the district’s fiscal issues through forming a collaborative community. “Once there is unity, we can encourage the community to create an educational foundation that could partnership with the school district,” she wrote in an email. “There are too many restraints on how public schools can generate revenue, but an educational foundation has more freedom to fundraise and accept sponsorships.”
BACKGROUND: Wilson, 29, is a social services caseworker for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services. He grew up in Holbrook and received a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from SUNY Oneonta. He is a trustee at St. John’s Greek Orthodox Church in Blue Point and a volunteer in the Farmingville Fire Department.
ISSUES: Wilson said with schools closing, affected students should be properly redistricted. He also wants to keep a close eye on state aid to the district and other effects from action in Albany. “The biggest thing to do on the school board is to contact the state agencies and keep lobbying and chomping away at the bit,” he said.