TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Shoreham-Wading River school district

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Shoreham-Wading River High School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $72,664,934 school budget for 2016-17, a 6 percent increase over the current $68,551,174. The tax levy would rise by 5.24 percent, from $49,925,346 to $52,542,274.

This increase is equal to the district’s tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on the average single-family home would rise by 5.33 percent, from $8,437.82 to $8,887.30.

The proposed budget includes an average 2.8 percent step increase for teachers, but no contractual increase. It would fund one new full-time and one part-time writing teacher position, and one full-time and part-time English-as-a-New-Language teacher position.

  • District website:

swrschools.org

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbent Richard Pluschau and candidates Michael Lewis and Kimberly Roff are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Michael Lewis

BACKGROUND: Lewis, 39, has lived in the district for eight years. He is a senior project manager for an architectural firm in Setauket. Lewis has a bachelor’s degree in architectural technology from the New York Institute of Technology in Central Islip. He is chairman of the school board’s space facilities committee. Lewis coaches North Shore Little League baseball and is an assistant coach for Sound Beach youth soccer. He has two children, including one who currently attends a district school.

ISSUES: Lewis said he is against “high-stakes mandated testing” and supports “the parent’s right to opt out” of standardized testing. He said he would work to “preserve current programming” and be an advocate for school athletics. Lewis said he would “provide oversight and follow-through of the district’s $48.5 million capital improvement bond.” He continued: “Bringing over 17 years of experience within the design and construction industry, my contribution on the board to assist and oversee these ventures will be extremely invaluable.”

Richard Pluschau

BACKGROUND: Pluschau, 49, is vice president and global head for data life cycle management at AIG in Manhattan. Pluschau has lived in the district for 11 years and first was elected to the school board in 2010. He has four children who attended or are attending district schools. Pluschau has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University at Albany and a master’s degree in business administration and insurance from St. John’s University School of Risk Management in Manhattan.

ISSUES: Pluschau said the district’s fiscal challenges have been “compounded” by the state aid formula. He said the district should identify “opportunities for shared services among school districts.” Pluschau said that during his board tenure, he has “championed increased transparency” and “improved dialogue with and participation of community members in the budget process.” As a result, he said, the district is “managing our finances in an optimum fashion.”

Kimberly Roff

BACKGROUND: Roff, 41, has lived in the district for 14 years. She is an assistant professor at SUNY Empire State College. Roff has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and psychology from the University at Albany, a master’s degree in teaching social studies from Stony Brook University and a doctorate in education from Walden University. Roff is currently studying learning and emergent technology at SUNY Empire State. She is a committee member for curriculum development at Thomas Edison State University in New Jersey. Her two children attend district schools.

ISSUES: Roff said she wants to “preserve the culture of success in our district” by “encouraging the academic achievement of all children, including pathways for special education students to graduate.” With the current school superintendent retiring, she said, the district should hire a new superintendent who “continues the ideas of the community as well as the stakeholders,” which include “transparency” in spending bond money. “The main thing for me is that the superintendent supports student education and the parent’s right to opt out of New York state testing,” she said.

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