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Long IslandEducation

Wyandanch school district


7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Central Administration building.


The district proposes a $66,240,142 budget for 2016-17, a 3.86 percent increase from the current $63,778,362. The tax levy would increase by 0.92 percent, from $21,249,956 to $21,444,824.

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

School taxes on the average single-family home would increase by 0.92 percent, from $6,631 to $6,692.

The proposed budget includes 11 new teachers because of increased enrollment, including three teachers for students with special disabilities.

The contract with the district’s teachers expires in July and there is no money budgeted for salary increases beyond regular step increases, according to the district.

  • District website:


Two by-seat positions are open. Incumbent James Crawford is being challenged by Celia J. Bryan-Spencer, Cerina Flippen and Keasha S. Guerrier; incumbent Yvonne Holder-Robinson is being challenged by Grace Johnson and Barry Sexton. Flippen and Johnson are running as a team. Terms are three years.

James Crawford

BACKGROUND: Crawford, 39, is a lifelong resident of the district who teaches social studies at a Brooklyn high school. He has a bachelor’s degree in social science and a master’s degree in education, both from Stony Brook University, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from the School of Leadership at Touro College. He has five children who have attended or are attending district schools. Crawford is a volunteer with the Wyandanch Fire Company, and he served on the school board from 2003 to 2006 and from 2009 to 2012.

ISSUES: Crawford said the most important issues facing the district are curriculum development, community school relations, enrichment programs and extracurricular activities. He said the district should reach out and partner with community organizations to involve parents more in the schools. He praised the district for moving toward “more engaging and student-led lessons.”

Celia J. Bryan-Spencer

BACKGROUND: Bryan-Spencer, 62, is an insurance agent who has lived in the district for 11 years. She has a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Old Westbury. She formerly was director of Head Start at the Economic Opportunity Commission of Nassau County, and she is active in the True Life Church of God in Wyandanch.

ISSUES: Bryan-Spencer said she is concerned with the graduation rates and the “stigma associated with the school district.” She said she would work with other board members to encourage parents to have an excellent relationship with teachers, and provide extra help for children. She said better pay for teachers would attract better teachers and increase graduation rates.

Cerina Flippen

BACKGROUND: Flippen did not respond to requests from Newsday for information about her background and stance on issues. She previously has said to Newsday that she worked as a customer service specialist at Home Goods. Flippen graduated from Farmingdale State College’s certified nursing program, and she has three children who attend district schools.

Keasha S. Guerrier

BACKGROUND: Guerrier, 31, a physician, is chief resident in family medicine at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore. She has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from New York Institute of Technology and a medical degree from the Latin American School of Medicine in Cuba. She previously worked for the district as a translator.

ISSUES: Guerrier said she wants to improve literacy rates and state test scores among elementary and secondary school students. She said she would create after-school programs to help enhance test scores and cognitive skills among students. She said she also proposes new ways to use technology to aid learning.

Yvonne Holder-Robinson

BACKGROUND: Robinson, 60, is a day-care provider who has lived in the district for 52 years. She served a three-year term on the school board, from 2008 to 2011, and she has been on the board since 2013. She has an associate degree in early childhood education from SUNY Old Westbury. She has four grown children and two foster children, one of whom is in kindergarten.

ISSUES: Robinson said she wants the district to be able to compete with surrounding districts. “We are a failing school district,” she said. She said the school board needs to unify “to bring stability to the district.” A united board, she said, would help bring stability and transparency to the district, and stop the “revolving door” of teachers and administrators in Wyandanch.

Grace Johnson

BACKGROUND: Johnson, 47, has lived in the district for 27 years. She is a secretary and author. She has seven children who attended or are attending district schools. She attended Dowling College for two years. She said she attends and speaks at school board meetings.

ISSUES: Johnson said she decided to run after the state placed her daughter’s school, Milton L. Olive Middle School, in receivership last year. She criticized the current school superintendent for being unable to improve conditions there and across the district. She also said current school board members “have to be held responsible and accountable,” and said more board members should have children in district schools.

Barry Sexton

BACKGROUND: Sexton, 59, is a retired truck driver. He has lived in the district since he was 5 years old. His six children all attended district schools. He attended Wyandanch High School but left to work before graduating. He previously served on the school board for six years before he lost a bid for re-election in 2013.

ISSUES: Sexton said he wants graduation rates to go up and parents, teachers and administrators to come together. He said parents have to become more involved. “Parents have to come to more board meetings,” he said. With increasing enrollment, he added, the district needs new facilities. He also said he wants to see test scores increase.

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