7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Baldwin Senior High School.
The district proposes a budget of $124,433,793 for 2015-16, a 2 percent increase from the current $121,993,915. The local tax levy would increase 1.39 percent, from $90,651,731 .
This increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 1.39 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. The district did not provide the dollar amount of the school tax on an average single-family home in the district because final assessment figures were not available from the county.
The proposed budget adds five English as a Second Language teachers, 13 high school college credit courses, and an administrator for K-12 Fine and Performing Arts and for English as a second language/foreign language. It expands career academies to include new media.
Teachers receive a salary increase of 1.39 percent. Step increases are frozen for the school year.
A ballot proposition asks voters to approve creation of a capital reserve fund to spend up to $5 million on improvements to district buildings.
Annie Doresca, George Siberon and incumbents Eric Harrison and Mary Jo O'Hagan are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: Doresca, 38, has lived in the district for nine years. She is director of finance and administration for Jewelers of America, a Manhattan-based nonprofit trade association. Doresca has a bachelor of science in finance from St. John's University and a master's degree in public administration from New York University. She is the treasurer and a past corresponding secretary of the Brookside Elementary School PTA. Doresca has three children in district public schools. This is her first run for the school board.
ISSUES: Doresca said that 38 percent of Baldwin students opted out of taking the recent English Language Arts test. "I feel that opting out on standardized tests is a decision that should be made in the household. If you as a parent feel that the exam causes unnecessary discomfort to your child, then you as a parent should make the determination on what's best for your child." She continued, "Common Core is a key issue that must continue to be evaluated in order to provide the best educational experience for our students, and give the teachers the necessary training to deliver this curriculum in the classroom." Doresca said that if elected she would meet frequently with the Baldwin Teachers Association and Baldwin residents "to address their concerns."
Mary Jo O'Hagan
BACKGROUND: O'Hagan, 70, has lived in the district for 33 years. She was elected to the school board in 1994 and has served continuously for 21 years. O'Hagan is a retired public school secretary who worked in the Freeport school district. She has a bachelor of science in secondary English education from SUNY Oneonta. She has two children who are district graduates. She serves as president of the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association and is a member of the New York State School Boards Association's state legislative network and commissioner's advisory council. O'Hagan is running as a team with George Siberon.
ISSUES: O'Hagan said the most important issue facing the district is a "lack of appropriate funding from the state and federal governments." O'Hagan said the gap elimination assessment, a measure instituted to deal with a state budget deficit, "has cost Baldwin $12 million in the past four years." She said "the federal government provides less than one-half of the promised 40 percent funding for implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act." O'Hagan said that to address these issues, "I have lobbied in Albany and Washington, D.C., and testified before legislators and organizations. I have met with other elected officials, and written letters on behalf of my own district and for all the children on Long Island and in New York State."
BACKGROUND: Harrison, 50, has lived in Baldwin for 21 years. He is the president of Trans Union Transporting, a defense contractor in Brooklyn. Harrison is a 1983 graduate of John Adams High School in Ozone Park, Queens. Harrison has two children, one a student in Baldwin public schools, one a public school graduate. Harrison is a member of the Baldwin Civic Association, and the Baldwin Oaks Association, a community organization. Harrison has been on the school board for three years.
ISSUES: Harrison said that as a school board member, "everyone knows me for my financial background experience." He said, "as a businessman with 27 employees, I run this business with no debt. We don't spend beyond our needs, and, unfortunately, school districts don't think the same way." Harrison said he was opposed to program cuts two years ago, most of which have been restored. He said the district is spending too much on bus transportation, which he opposes. Harrison said the school board "is not responsible" with its money, adding, "As someone who is charged to oversee the finances of the school district, we should not take everything administrators say and pass along those expenditures."
BACKGROUND: Siberon, 67, is a former executive director of the Nassau County Youth Board, an agency that provides funding for youth services. He is executive director of the Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association, which works with at-risk youth, among other programs. From 1996 to 1998, he was a district manager for U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velazquez (D-Brooklyn). Siberon has a bachelor of arts from Queens College, a master of social work from Fordham University and a master of public administration from Baruch College. Siberon has lived in the district 24 years. He has a child in a district public school. This is his second run for the school board. He is running as a team with O'Hagan.
ISSUES: Siberon said a critical issue is to "rescind the gap elimination adjustment, which reduced state aid in order to close a state budget deficit five years ago." He said the Baldwin district has lost $12.5 million in the last four years because of this state initiative. "Now that we don't have a budget deficit, but a surplus, it is time to rescind this initiative so we can stop losing funds." He opposes what he calls "unfunded mandates," including requirements to hire additional staff to provide additional services without reimbursement. Siberon said, "I want to work collaboratively with the other trustees in advocating with elected officials to secure funding for services that are unfunded."