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Long IslandEducation

Southampton school district


10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Southampton Intermediate School.


The district proposes a $67,731,464 budget for 2016-17, a 4.04 percent increase from the current $65,103,073. The tax levy would rise by 2.03 percent, from $52,608,247 to $53,676,683.

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

School taxes on an average single-family home would decrease by 0.94 percent, from $1,188.25 to $1,177.05.

The proposed budget includes a 0.75 percent increase in teacher salaries and would extend summer academic programs from four to six weeks.

It also would start after-school programs earlier in the academic year and end them later.

A proposition asks voters for permission to use $7.75 million in reserve funds to purchase a building to serve as the new district office and student center. Because the money has been set aside, the proposition would not result in any additional tax levy, according to the district. Another proposition asks voters to authorize a $400,311 contract with the Southampton Youth Association for a recreation program, while an additional proposition asks voters for permission to enter into a $170,000 contract with the Southampton Historical Museum for services.

  • District website:


Donna J. Gagliardo, Anastasia Gavalas, Tracey R. Koszalka, James F. McKenna and Jacqueline O. Robinson are running for two at-large seats. Terms are four years.

Donna J. Gagliardo

BACKGROUND: Gagliardo, 57, is a homemaker and former English as a Second Language teacher and special education teacher’s aide. She has lived in the district for 35 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and education from SUNY Potsdam and a master’s degree in special education from Southampton College. She has two children who attended or are attending district schools. She is a volunteer with the parish social ministry of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary of Southampton.

ISSUES: Gagliardo said she would promote balanced lives for Southampton students. “Computers are wonderful, and you can download a lot of information, but there has to be time to enjoy nature,” she said. She would encourage greater participation in the district’s extracurricular activities, which she said are of good quality, and in volunteering.

Anastasia Gavalas

BACKGROUND: Gavalas, 45, is an education consultant and managing director of Gavalas Builders, a Bridgehampton homebuilder. She has lived in the district for 13 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in bilingual education and elementary education from St. John’s University, a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University and a certificate of advanced studies in administrative leadership from Hofstra University. She has five children who attend district schools, and she serves on the Southampton School Wellness Committee.

ISSUES: Gavalas said her experience in education will be an asset as the district hires a new superintendent and new principals. Should voters approve the purchase of a building for a new district office, she said, she would push to ensure any excess space is used well — perhaps for adult education or English as a Second language programs. With her children now in all three district schools and her experience in multicultural education, she said, “my focus is on inclusiveness.”

Tracey R. Koszalka

BACKGROUND: Koszalka, 41, is a secretary at Arbor Care East, a Southampton tree-care company, and a former kindergarten teacher. She has lived in the district for 14 years. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and early childhood education from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s degree in early childhood education from Worcester State University. She has four children attending district schools, and has served on a number of district committees.

ISSUES: Koszalka said there is “not a lot of trust” between parents, administrators and the school board. “That is something that needs to change.” She said she would push for better communication with teachers and parents about Common Core. “Teachers don’t feel that supported,” she said. “They feel like the board’s take on Common Core is not supportive of what they’re doing within the classroom.” She said she also would reinstate board liaisons to each school, which she said would raise teacher morale and benefit students.

James F. McKenna

BACKGROUND: McKenna, 64, has lived in the district for 33 years. He is a retired math teacher, principal and superintendent in the Mattituck-Cutchogue school district. He has a bachelor’s degree in math education from St. Francis College, a master’s degree in math education from Queens College and a professional diploma in school administration from Long Island University. His child attended district schools. He is a former president of the Suffolk County School Superintendents Association, a former president of the Suffolk County High School Principals Association, and a Eucharistic minister for the Basilica Parish of Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Roman Catholic Church.

ISSUES: McKenna said that as a former administrator, “I know the job and I know the ins and outs of how a school district functions.” He said he would push for better communication with residents to enable shared and informed decision-making. He said he also would push for more rigorous accountability for district spending. Too often, he said, residents are led to believe that “money will solve all of the problems.” That is not necessarily the case, he said. “We need to differentiate between needs to have and nice to have.”

Jacqueline O. Robinson

BACKGROUND: Robinson, 46, is a part-time administrative assistant for Blue Light Energy in Bridgehampton. A former teacher’s assistant and secretary at Southampton district schools, she has lived in the district for 44 years. She has a liberal arts degree from Suffolk County Community College and did graduate work in elementary education and social work at LIU Southampton. She has two children attending district schools. She is a former president of the Southampton Elementary School PTA and PTO, and she has participated in the New York state foster-parenting course and the KEYS (Keeping Every Youth Safe) program, which focuses on youth safety.

ISSUES: Robinson said the district needs to do a better job communicating information about personnel issues. She said she would press for more curriculum independence and alternatives to Common Core testing. Robinson vowed to work to develop drug prevention programs for the district and to strengthen interest in homecoming and sports events.

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