TODAY'S PAPER
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Long IslandEducation

Southold school district

VOTING

3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Junior-Senior High School gymnasium.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $29,981,000 budget for 2018-19, a 1.84 percent increase from the current $29,440,000. The tax levy would rise by 1.62 percent, from $25,994,058 to $26,414,500.

This increase is below the district’s tax cap limit of 1.64 percent so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget.

School taxes on an average single family home would be $5,583, a 1.62 percent increase from $5,494.

The proposed budget calls for teachers to get a contractual raise of .5 percent and a step increase of 2 percent.

District website:

southholdufsd.com

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents John Crean and Paulette Ofrias and challenger Amy Bennett are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

John Crean

BACKGROUND: Crean, 57, is a cardiologist who has lived in the district for 24 years. He and his wife, Carol, have four sons who had attended the Southold public schools from grades K-8 and then attended Catholic high schools. He received his undergraduate degree in microbiology from the University of Rochester and a medical degree from Stony Brook University. He has served on the board for the past ten years.

ISSUES: Declining enrollment is the greatest issue facing the school district, he said. Southold has become more of a second-home community for vacationers and retirees, he said, which has caused enrollment to decline in the district. “What we are trying to do is share more with Greenport,” he said. The district currently shares a superintendent with neighboring Greenport. Crean said he thinks the district should consider sharing other services and programs as well “so we can continue to provide opportunities for our shrinking population of students.”

Paulette Ofrias

BACKGROUND: Ofrias is a lifetime resident of the district. She holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Brockport and a business owner. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Southold and a recipient of the New York Women of Distinction Award in 2017. She has two children who are both graduates of the district. She has served on the board since 2003. She also serves as a trustee on the East End Health Plan and is a board member of the Southold School Educational Foundation. She also is a member of the North Fork Chamber of Commerce.

ISSUES: She said the greatest issue facing the district is offering the students quality education while balancing a budget and being fiscally responsible, saying, “ . . . we must remain vigilant in bolstering our programs and services for our students.”

Amy C. Bennett

BACKGROUND: Bennett, 45, has lived in the district for 12 years. She is a school nurse teacher in another district where she also serves as the internal auditor. She has a bachelor’s in nursing from the University of Delaware and a bachelor’s in political science also from the University of Delaware. She has a master’s degree from Touro College in childhood and special education for grades 1-6. She has two sons, one who graduated from the local schools and another who is currently enrolled in the local schools.

ISSUES: The most important issue facing the district, she said, is finding ways to increase opportunities available for students so they can be competitive in whatever comes next — whether it is college, trade school or the workforce. “As a parent and educator, I will bring a unique perspective and a fresh set of eyes to the Southold Board of Education,” she said.

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