TODAY'S PAPER
Overcast 52° Good Afternoon
Overcast 52° Good Afternoon

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Suffolk County Community College’s Sayville Downtown Center.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $90,594,753 budget for 2017-18, a 0.53 percent increase from the current $90,119,477. The tax levy would increase by 0.25 percent, from $57,741,199 to $57,884,439.

This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 0.26 percent, so a simple majority vote is required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family house would increase 0.25 percent, from $7,560 to $7,578.50.

The proposed budget includes an estimated 1.5 percent contractual increase and a 2 percent step increase for teachers. It also includes adding foreign language exploration at the elementary level, a special education peer-assisted learning class and two new co-curricular clubs, as well as an Advanced Placement research summer class.

THE CANDIDATES

There are two by-seat positions open. Incumbent Thomas Cooley is being challenged by Lori Cannetti, while incumbent Deborah Van Essendelft is running unopposed. Terms are three years.

Lori Cannetti

BACKGROUND: Cannetti, 46, is the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in the Patchogue-Medford district. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Dowling College and as well as a master’s degree in education at Dowling. She has three children in district schools. Cannetti served as PTA treasurer for one term and is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development and Phi Delta Kappa, an organization for professional educators.

ISSUES: Cannetti, who did not respond to requests for an interview, wrote on a candidate information form that she is a strong advocate for children and is committed to ensuring that every child has access to the best educational programs available. She wrote that she will work on the school board to make sure there are policies and procedures that support that goal. “I believe a new generation of leadership is needed,” she wrote.

Thomas Cooley

BACKGROUND: Cooley, 53, a lifelong district resident, is a financial controller in the airline industry. He has a sister-in-law who works in the Sayville district. He studied finance at Hofstra University and has three children who attended district schools. His volunteer work includes helping rebuild the Sayville Pantry storage facility. He is currently serving as board vice president and is seeking his fourth term on the board.

ISSUES: Cooley said it’s important to be prudent with how the district spends money and uses its reserves to get through a difficult time. The district has reduced its debt by 16 percent in the past five years, he said, and got an Aa1 bond rating from Moody’s. “You need to choose your programs carefully,” he said. The district is adding a language arts and reading program at the elementary level, and adding research at the high school, he said. “I truly believe in the value of a public education and I’m dedicated to serving and teaching children to achieve their full potential,” he said.

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