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Long IslandEducation

Shoreham-Wading River

SCHOOL VOTERS GUIDE

BUDGET

SPENDING $75,952,416, a 1.57 percent increase from the current $74,776,072.

TAX LEVY 2.367 percent increase, from $53,120,215 to $54,377,657. This is within the district’s 2.386 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes a 0.5 percent contractual increase and an average step increase of 3 percent. The proposed budget includes additions to school security, six new high school electives, expansion of the Chromebook initiative in grades nine through 12 and enhancements in art and theater, as well as new extracurricular clubs and opportunities at all schools.

WHEN | WHERE

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Shoreham-Wading River High School auxiliary gymnasium. www.swrschools.org

CANDIDATES

Six candidates are running for three seats, elected at-large. They are Edward Granshaw, Jennifer Kitchen, William J. McGrath, Thomas Sheridan and Meghan Tepfenhardt and incumbent Michael Lewis. The top two vote-getters receive three-year terms, and the third-highest vote-getter receives a one-year term created by the resignation of Erin Hunt. Incumbent Kimberly Roff is not seeking re-election. 

Edward Granshaw

BACKGROUND Granshaw, 47, is a police officer who has lived in the district for 15 years. A Longwood High School graduate, he holds a bachelor's degree from SUNY Empire State College. Granshaw is a member of the Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association and of the Long Island chapter of the Little People of America. He has two daughters, in the third and sixth grades. His wife is a special education teacher in the Brentwood schools.

KEY ISSUE Granshaw believes the most important issue facing the district is the safety and security of the students. "I can use my law enforcement experience and training to work with board and committee members to ensure our students will always be safe while on school grounds," Granshaw said. He said, if elected, he would work toward providing all school staff the training to identify students and adults in need of mental health services and would continually evaluate safety procedures in the schools. 

Jennifer Kitchen

BACKGROUND Kitchen, 46, has lived in the district for 14 years and works as an account executive for a women's health organization. She holds an accounting degree from Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Kitchen is an executive board member of the PTA. She has four children in district schools, ranging from third grade to 12th grade. 

KEY ISSUE Kitchen said she would use her accounting, sales and financial background to manage the district's funds, particularly the spending of a $48 million bond for facilities improvement. "With the great reward of the bond comes great responsibility," Kitchen said. She also aims to maintain the district's quality special education, STEAM, athletics and academic programs, she said.

Michael Lewis

BACKGROUND Lewis, 42, an architect, has lived in the district for 11 years. He holds degrees from Suffolk County Community College and New York Institute of Technology. He has two children attending elementary school in the district. He is the current president of the board and was vice president in the 2017-18 academic year.

KEY ISSUE Lewis said, if re-elected, he would continue to develop a five-year strategic plan and ensure it is implemented. He would like to see through the completion of the district's $48 million capital bond project, identify additional facility improvement and continue to provide transparency regarding the sale or lease of the Briarcliff Building. Lewis said he is committed to maintaining the district’s outstanding finances, pointing to a AA bond rating and a fiscal stress score of zero from the state comptroller. He said he would like to "enhance social and emotional learning support for students, as well as incorporate more collaborative and diverse classroom settings.”

William J. McGrath

BACKGROUND McGrath, 61, has lived in the district for 30 years. He is a retired researcher at Brookhaven National Laboratory. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. His daughter is a 2008 graduate of the high school. He previously was on the school board from 2008 to 2017 and served as president from 2010 to 2015.

KEY ISSUE McGrath said he would work to improve communication between the district and residents. He said he would take into account feedback from parents, students, residents and staff while "delivering the education and ensuring the welfare and safety of the students." The board, he said, "has the fiscal responsibility to help deliver this, and as a trustee that means keeping eyes and ears open to concerns and complaints."

Thomas Sheridan

BACKGROUND Sheridan, 50, has lived in the district for 12 years. He is a senior account executive at Visa and holds a master's in business administration from Dowling College. His wife works as a part-time health aide in the Miller Avenue School. He has two daughters, one in middle school and another in high school.

KEY ISSUE Sheridan said, if elected, he would initiate an evaluation of the middle school and consider creating Resource Rooms for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, covering math and English instruction. "With declining enrollment, I believe strongly that we should stay focused on enriching our academics, supporting and attracting excellent teachers to better elevate our district," Sheridan said.

Meghan Tepfenhardt

BACKGROUND Tepfenhardt, 43, has lived in the district for 20 years. She is a sixth-grade English Language Arts and social studies teacher in the Mattituck-Cutchogue school district. Currently, she is president of the Wading River School PTA. She has two children, one in a private prekindergarten program and the other a rising middle-schooler.

KEY ISSUE Tepfenhardt said, if elected, she would listen carefully to the experiences of families to help guide her decisions on programs and improvements. She aims to bring more professional development for teachers and staff and use data to drive decision-making, with input from professionals and parents. "I would never come across and think one program will solve any one problem," Tepfenhardt said.


 

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