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Long IslandEducation

West Hempstead

SCHOOL VOTERS GUIDE

BUDGET

SPENDING $63,575,777, a 4.01 percent increase from the current $61,122,822.

TAX LEVY 2.68 percent increase, from $45,594,326 to $46,817,635. The district’s tax-cap limit is 2.64 percent. However, district officials told Newsday that the percentage increase in the tax levy is a comparison with the 2018-19 budgeted tax levy and does not take into account a prior year's excess tax-levy amount, which is being used to reduce the 2019-20 tax levy. Officials said residents can find details about the tax-cap calculation on the district’s website. A simple majority vote is required for approval of the proposed budget.

TEACHER PAY / PROGRAMS Includes estimated salary increases subject to contract negotiations. The proposed budget adds positions for an elementary school reading teacher, a secondary-level special education teacher and a technology teacher who would work at the elementary and high schools. In addition, the spending plan allows for introduction of the college-level AP Capstone program, an Advanced Placement computer science course and a new elementary school mathematics program.

WHEN | WHERE

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at West Hempstead Middle School. www.whufsd.com

CANDIDATES

Six candidates are running for three positions, elected by seat. Incumbent Karen Brohm and Zalman Hagler are vying for one seat; incumbent Byars Cole is challenged by Gavi Hoffman for one position; and incumbent Patricia Greaves and Abraham Peller are facing off for one seat. Terms are three years.

Karen Brohm

BACKGROUND Brohm, 47, works as a communications supervisor for the Nassau County Police. Brohm grew up in the district and attended its public schools through ninth grade. She graduated from Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset. Brohm earned credits toward a degree in early childhood education at Adelphi University. She has three children, two of whom currently attend district public schools, and one who attended district schools through sixth grade and graduated from a Catholic high school on Long Island. Brohm was elected to the school board in 2012 to complete the term of a board member who resigned. She was re-elected in 2013 and 2016 and is seeking her third full term.

KEY ISSUE “I’m continuing to run as long as I believe that we’re doing what’s right to ensure the best possible education for all the children of the community. We’ve worked very hard to maintain programs and expand possibilities for our students while continually staying under the 2 percent tax cap and putting out a fiscally responsible budget. For next year, we’re very proud that we’re able to reinstitute the nine-period day at the secondary level with no additional cost to the taxpayer."

Byars Cole

BACKGROUND Cole, 60, has lived in the district for 14 years. He works as a client executive for CenturyLink Communications in Manhattan. Cole studied music and theater at the University of Mississippi during the 1970s but did not complete a degree. He left college to pursue a professional career in music, film and television in Los Angeles and New York, and has been a producer or assistant director of more than 200 music videos. Cole earned a certificate in internet technology from Pace University in Manhattan. He has three children, two of whom currently attend district public schools, and one who attended district elementary and middle schools and now is enrolled at a parochial high school on Long Island. Cole was assistant football coach for the West Hempstead Broncos in 2015-16, and in 2016-17 he coached Catholic Youth Organization basketball for St. Thomas the Apostle Roman Catholic Church in West Hempstead. Cole was appointed to the school board in 2017 and last year won an election to complete the one year remaining in the term of Rudolf Schindler, who gave up the seat.

KEY ISSUE "I was instrumental with the ‘Vote Yes’ committee that we started to get the $35-million capital bond passed in 2016. I want to make sure that we maintain the initiatives in progress that we’ve made over the last couple of years, such as improved academics and fulfillment of the capital bond to improve the physical plant. We’ve updated our fields, replaced windows in all the schools and we’re starting on the science labs and music rooms.”

Patricia Greaves

BACKGROUND Greaves, 52, who has lived in the district for eight years, works as a special education teacher at Baldwin Middle School. She is a certified physical trainer and a professional body builder who recently won first prize in a New Jersey bodybuilding competition. Greaves earned a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing management from Baruch College in Manhattan. She has a master’s degree in special education from LIU Brooklyn and a master's in middle school education earth science from Brooklyn College. Greaves serves on the parent committee of Adelphi University’s Science and Technology Entry Program and teaches a weekly science class in the program. She is a parent member of the Jack and Jill Nassau County chapter, an organization that prepares African-American children for leadership. She also is a member of the Cathedral Gardens Civic Association. Greaves has three children, one of whom attends West Hempstead schools and two who graduated from the district. Greaves was appointed to the board in 2015 to fill a vacancy and was elected to a three-year term in 2016.

KEY ISSUE "My desire is to serve children and to empower and support them to be successful individuals who will give back to their community.”

Zalman Hagler

BACKGROUND Hagler, 52, has lived in the district for 23 years. He works in records management at a Manhattan financial institution. Hagler is a graduate of Ramapo High School in Spring Valley. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Queens College. Hagler has four children, all of whom attended Jewish private schools. He volunteered as a coach for West Hempstead Little League. He is an active member of Anshei Shalom Synagogue in West Hempstead. This is his first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE "West Hempstead is a great community and one that I’ve been proud to be a part of for the past two decades. I very much feel that the school district should be well-managed and very efficient while also serving the best needs of everybody in the community, regardless of whether they are a private-school or public-school parent.” 

Gavi Hoffman

BACKGROUND Hoffman, 35, has lived in the district for six years. He works as a digital product manager consultant at Meganic Inc. in Manhattan. Hoffman earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Queens College and a juris doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in White Plains. Hoffman is a member of his synagogue’s chapter of the Community Security Service, which protects Jewish organizations. He is a former board member at Anshei Shalom Synagogue in West Hempstead. Hoffman has three children, two of whom attend Jewish private schools and one not yet school-age. This is his first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE “It’s in the best interest of everyone in our community to be involved to help add new ideas and advocate for what is best for our entire community. I think we should be videotaping and posting school board meetings online, because while there are minutes, they don’t show the public comments, which really give a lot of context to what’s going on."

Abraham Peller

BACKGROUND Peller, 54, has lived in the district for 25 years and is the chief of endoscopic anesthesia at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola. He grew up in the Bronx and graduated in 1983 from Yeshiva University High School in Manhattan. He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Yeshiva University and his M.D. from SUNY Health Science Center in Brooklyn. Peller has four children, one of whom is attending a Jewish private school outside the district and three who graduated from Jewish private high schools. Peller is a member of Young Israel of West Hempstead synagogue, and he has served on the board of directors and the board of education of Yeshiva Har Torah elementary school in Little Neck, Queens. He is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiology and other professional societies in his medical field. In his spare time, he climbs mountains around the world including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This is his first run for the school board.

KEY ISSUE “Improving the quality of education and the educational process in my home community. I want the taxpayers in my community to be proud of their investment in the future of the children in the greater West Hempstead community.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this entry gave an incorrect location for Ramapo High School, in the East Ramapo Central School District in Rockland County.

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