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Long IslandEducation

Valley Stream 13

VOTING

6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at James A. Dever, Howell Road, Wheeler Avenue and Willow Road elementary schools.

 

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $49,841,963 budget for 2017-18, a 3.31 percent increase from the current $48,246,922. The tax levy would increase 1.67 percent, from $34,896,345 to $35,479,114.

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

School taxes on the average single-family house would increase 1.67 percent, from $3,541.77 to $3,600.92.

The proposed budget includes a 0.85 percent salary increase and a 1.1 percent step increase for teachers. A part-time clerical position would be cut, and positions would be added for three special education teachers, a part-time social worker and a part-time orchestra teacher.

A proposition asks voters to approve the Valley Stream Central High School District’s proposed 2017-18 budget of $113,429,221.

 

 

THE CANDIDATES

There are three by-seat positions open. Incumbent Frank Chiachiere is being challenged by Deborah Kalb; incumbent Patricia Farrell is being challenged by Atif Sajjad; and incumbent Sean Douglas is running unopposed. Terms are three years.

Frank Chiachiere

BACKGROUND: Chiachiere, 73, has lived in the district for 38 years. He is a retired school administrator who worked in the Half Hollow Hills district. He is a lecturer at the Stony Brook University School of Professional Development. Chiachiere has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a master’s degree in teaching foreign languages, also from New Paltz, and a doctorate in school administration from New York University. His two children graduated from district schools. He was elected to the school board in 1993. He also serves on the Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education, and last year was its president.

ISSUES: Chiachiere said high-quality education can be continued in the district by “ensuring that taxpayer dollars are directed to the classroom.” The district should provide “ongoing support to teachers” through professional development, he said. Chiachiere said he is working on “straightening out this Industrial Development Agency nightmare at the Green Acres shopping mall,” referring to tax breaks the mall had received but which the IDA recently voted to revoke. Chiachiere said, “I will continue to monitor closely and work with elected officials and the district’s council to ensure that our taxpayers are treated fairly.”

Patricia Farrell

BACKGROUND: Farrell, 54, has lived in the district for 18 years. She is an assistant branch manager at Roslyn Savings Bank. Farrell has a bachelor’s degree from St. John’s University. She is the vice president of the Valley Stream Central/Memorial PTSA, and treasurer of the Valley Stream 13 Educational Foundation, which raises award money for the district’s sixth-grade students. Farrell was elected to the school board in 2014. Her two children graduated from district schools.

ISSUES: Farrell said if re-elected, she would continue to speak to state legislators at community events and ask them about increasing state aid to the district. As a board member, she said she actively promoted the 2015 bond issue for district improvements in safety, security and technology, and for upgrading the buildings. Farrell said as chair of the school board’s business committee, she has worked with the other board members “to present a fiscally responsible budget.”

Deborah Kalb

BACKGROUND: Kalb, 52, has lived in the district for 13 years. She is a dispatcher for the Levittown Fire Department. Kalb is a graduate of a two-year secretarial school program. Her three children attend district schools. Kalb is active in the district’s PTAs and has served for the past 12 years on the executive board of the James A. Dever School PTA, twice serving as its president. Kalb also is a member of the executive board of the district’s Special Education PTA. She has chaired committees for Author’s Day, the intergenerational reading program and the faculty appreciation lunch.

ISSUES: Kalb said that there is “a lack of communication between the district and community.” She added that board members should post their email addresses on the district website so residents can write to them. The school board “must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff and students as well as the community at large,” she said, adding: “As a parent of . . . special education and general education students, PTA executive board member, SEPTA liaison and budget ambassador, I know I am uniquely qualified to address this most serious issue” of communication.

Atif Sajjad

BACKGROUND: Sajjad, 44, has lived in the district for more than 20 years. He owns the Computer Phone Repair shop in Valley Stream, which he started five years ago. Sajjad has a bachelor’s degree from Vaughn College in Queens. He has three children, two of whom attend district schools, and one who will start kindergarten in the district next year. Sajjad worked as an avionics engineer in the U.S. airline industry for 10 years and was a technical writer for Sikorsky Helicopters in Connecticut.

ISSUES: Sajjad said if elected, he would help the district keep up with “technological changes that are happening in our society.” Sajjad said, “We need to provide our youths the tools they need [for] the workplace of tomorrow.” If elected, he said he would “push for upgrading classroom tech and provide the teachers with training to utilize these technologies.” Sajjad said he “would advocate [for] better and robust communications between the teachers and parents,” adding: “I would look into introducing some form of training in coding and mobile app development.”

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