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Long IslandEducation

Sag Harbor

SCHOOL VOTERS GUIDE

BUDGET

SPENDING $42,885,375, a 2.40 percent increase from the current $41,880,896.

TAX LEVY 3 percent increase, from $37,561,140 to $38,687,974. This is within the district's 4.56 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes a 1.2 percent contract increase as well as step increases. The preschool expansion will add 1.5 full-time equivalent teaching positions along with one English Language Learner position.

PROPOSITIONS

Proposition 2 is seeking voter approval to use approximately $178,446 from the transportation fleet capital reserve fund to buy a full-size school bus and a Suburban with 4-wheel drive. There will be no additional cost to taxpayers. Approval of the proposition will not affect the tax levy.

WHEN | WHERE

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Pierson High School gymnasium. www.sagharborschools.org

CANDIDATES

Incumbents Brian DeSesa and Chris Tice, Julian Barrowcliffe, Caleb Kercheval, Thomas McErlean and Yorgos Tsibiridis are seeking three at-large seats. The two candidates who receive the highest number of votes will receive three-year terms and the third-highest vote-getter will receive a one-year term created by the resignation of January Kerr. DeSesa was appointed in February to fill that vacancy.

Julian Barrowcliffe

BACKGROUND Barrowcliffe, 56, is a consultant with a background in banking, commodity trading and finance. He earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and French at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom. He has a child in middle school and 5-year-old twins.

KEY ISSUE "We spend a large amount of dollars per student and there is room for improvement." He suggested the district could improve its college counseling and admissions programs; consider ramping up vocational programs and perhaps bring them in-house; and consider using part of the former Stella Maris building, recently renamed the Sag Harbor Learning Center, to provide special needs services for a wide swath of schools on the East End, leveraging the program to train staff, fill unmet needs and possibly be a revenue source.

Brian DeSesa

BACKGROUND DeSesa, 38, is an attorney. He previously served as a Suffolk County assistant district attorney, going into private practice in 2008. He earned his bachelor's in finance and accounting at Providence College and his law degree at Nova Southeastern University. He also is a member of the Southampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals, where he is vice chairman. His mother is a part-time administrator for Western Suffolk BOCES. He has one child at the elementary school.

KEY ISSUE "The key issue is to continue our educational excellence and continue to grow the educational program. We need to keep growing the IB program and especially the vocational programs." Expanding vocational computer programming or business management programs, perhaps in conjunction with BOCES, would help keep students in the district, DeSesa said.

Caleb Kercheval

BACKGROUND Kercheval, 56, is a real estate broker. He studied English at the University of Massachusetts and music composition at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has a background in IT that includes programming and designing websites. He has two children in district schools.

KEY ISSUE He would work to help the district better communicate information via its website, asking interested residents to sign up for getting timely information and then setting up systems to push information out to people. "No matter what your issue, if you don't get information in a timely fashion, it's not helpful."

Thomas McErlean

BACKGROUND McErlean, 61, is the owner of a landscaping and property management company. He is a Sag Harbor High School graduate, a youth basketball coach and a member of the high school athletic committee. Four of his children have graduated from the district, a son is in high school, and two of his three grandchildren attend the elementary school. He previously ran for the board in 2004.

KEY ISSUE "The issue is the affordability of living out here. Our community is going through a transition. My mission is to unite people and get the community to work together. We have to see where we can make cuts without hurting the students." He also would use his property management skills to help complete learning center renovations on time and on budget.

Chris Tice

BACKGROUND Tice, 58, is a real estate broker and formerly was an executive at media and digital companies. She earned her bachelor's in psychology at SUNY Albany. She was a PTA co-president at the elementary school, is on the board of the Chamber of Commerce and has served on various school board committees. Her sister is a teacher in Commack. Two of her three children have graduated from Sag Harbor and the third is in high school. She has been on the board for nine years.

KEY ISSUE "How do you continue to maintain and improve programs under the tax cap? That's the issue. We need to make sure we have enough resources to invest in our classrooms by being diligent about how we spend taxpayer's money." The district needs to make sure programs are sustainable, be transparent about spending and look for shared-service opportunities, she said.

Yorgos Tsibiridis

BACKGROUND Tsibiridis, 49, is a real estate broker and previously worked in financial budgeting and forecasting. He has an MBA in finance from Columbia Business School and a bachelor's in economics and finance from Athens University, with a year at the University of Milan. He has been on the school board’s policy committee for the last three years. He has one child in elementary school and another starting kindergarten this fall.

KEY ISSUE "A critical issue for our district is understanding the school budget and capital projects and having more transparency for the community to understand. My focus has been fiscal accountability. We need to have transparency as well as accountability as well as communication so the community understands better what they are voting for."

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