SPENDING $207,332,613, a 5.7 percent increase over the current $196,055,238.
TAX LEVY A 1.98 percent increase, from $121,021,994 to $123,409,051. This is within the district’s 3.76 percent tax-cap limit, so a simple majority vote is required for approval.
TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes average salary increase, to take effect midyear, of 1.9 percent and average step increase of 2 percent. The proposed budget adds three teachers, one high school assistant principal, one clerical employee and four security guards. Adds new literacy program for grades K-1. Funds a social worker for Kellenberg Memorial High School.
WHEN | WHERE
6 a.m. to 9 p.m., at Smith Street, Walnut Street, Grand Avenue, California Avenue and Northern Parkway schools. district.uniondaleschools.org
Four candidates are running for two by-seat positions with three-year terms. James Ockimey Jr. and Addie Blanco-Harvey are vying for one seat; Mary Bediako and Carol Eason will face off for the other. Incumbents Terri Mangum and Bruno A. Cubas are not seeking re-election.
Mary R. Bediako
BACKGROUND Bediako, 68, retired in March as an assistant superintendent of schools in Freeport, where for 19 years she’d been the district clerk for the board of education. A Uniondale resident for 38 years, she has three grown children who attended district schools through 10th grade before attending boarding schools. She arrived in 1976 from her native Ghana as a student and received a doctorate in educational administration in 1984 from Columbia University. She is a member of various professional organizations, including the New York State Association of School Personnel Administrators, and she worships at St. Martha Roman Catholic Church, where she is elector and eucharistic minister.
KEY ISSUE “Meeting the mandated requirements and maintaining our programs while still keeping within the budgetary constraints of the tax levy cap.”
BACKGROUND Blanco-Harvey, 45, is a public relations coordinator and manager at a dental practice who has lived in the district for more than 35 years. Her husband is a district employee, and five children and stepchildren have graduated from or currently attend district schools. She holds a bachelor’s degree in childhood education with a specialty in bilingual and special education from SUNY Old Westbury, and she has been active in the district’s PTSA, the PTA Council and the Comite Civido Salvadoreño.
KEY ISSUE Equipping students with the skills necessary for success, reducing waste to lower costs, and supporting staff with professional development and resources.
BACKGROUND Eason, 59, is a social worker at a Brooklyn charter school and earned a licensed master’s degree in social work from Adelphi University. A resident of the district for 24 years, she has seven children, including one in sixth grade and another who teaches in a district school.
KEY ISSUE Improving the projected restructuring plan in the district to accommodate an influx of students and create more diverse and inclusive programs during and after school hours, including a student-run television and radio station and increased partnerships with community organizations. “It is up to us as a district to ensure that, along with the restructuring, the specific learning needs of every student [are] met.”.
James Ockimey Jr.
BACKGROUND Ockimey, 28, is a freelance outreach coordinator, helping community organizations and businesses create new programs while attending LIU-Post full-time. He expects to earn a master’s degree in social work next year. He is a 2013 graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas College with a bachelor’s in criminal justice. Ockimey, a lifelong resident of the district, and his wife, Mariel, created a business called the Genesis Program that holds after-school and summer programs to promote school readiness for about 120 elementary age students. He also interns for 15 hours a week at the Lawrence Road Middle School.
KEY ISSUE Greater focus on school readiness by increasing funding for reading programs in the early grades and making sure early grades receive enough funding to create a sound educational foundation.