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Long IslandNassau

East Meadow school district


7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Barnum Woods, Bowling Green, George McVey, Meadowbrook and Parkway elementary schools.


The district proposes a $192,852,723 budget for 2015-16, a 0.9 percent increase from the current $191,128,156. The local tax levy would rise 2.13 percent, from $133,524,944 to $136,362,701. This is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 2.13 percent. However, an additional proposition to add full-day kindergarten would pierce the tax cap, requiring a 60 percent supermajority to approve the budget. For the current 2014-15 school year, school taxes on the average single-family home are about $6,928.98.

Proposition No. 2 will be the addition of full-day kindergarten, at a cost of $2,992,075 over the initial budget, known as Proposition 1. The addition of Proposition 2 to Proposition 1 carries a budget increase of 2.47 percent, which equates to a tax-levy increase of 3.02 percent.

Residents can cast their votes on Proposition 1 alone or on Proposition 1 and Proposition 2. Even if the full-day kindergarten proposal is defeated, a supermajority is still needed to pass the basic 2015-16 budget. Both propositions must pass in order for the district to add the full-day kindergarten program.

The budget does not call for any cuts in programs or services.

District website:


Incumbent Brian O'Flaherty is being challenged by Adam Sackowitz; incumbent Walter Skinner is being challenged by Melissa Tell. Terms are three years. O'Flaherty and Skinner are running as a team.

Brian O'Flaherty

BACKGROUND: O'Flaherty, 52, is a commercial property manager, and a lifelong resident of the district. He is a graduate of East Meadow High School and has a bachelor of science in accounting from Hofstra University. He serves as president-elect of the East Meadow Kiwanis Club, as president of the East Meadow Townehouse Condominium and as civic member of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce and has served as a member of the East Meadow Board of Education since 2003. He is running with Walter Skinner.

ISSUES: The most important issue facing the district is dealing with the tax cap and "trying to be cognizant of the education of the children and balance it with finances of an East Meadow taxpayer," he said. The Board of Education has faced the challenges year after year of not "piercing the cap" since its implementation by Gov. Cuomo, he said. These past few months, the Board of Education requested the superintendent to revise the study of implementing full-day kindergarten, he said, and the cost of implementing full-day kindergarten will pierce the cap. "We looked at including this full-day program in the budget, without piercing the cap, but similar to other districts who currently implemented it, we would have had to either cut programs, raise class sizes or cut excess staff," he said. "This current Board of Education did not want to take that route. We decided as a board to let the community, the taxpayers decide."

Adam Sackowitz

BACKGROUND: Sackowitz, 23, is a National Park Service ranger and historic preservationist who is a lifelong resident of the district. He has a bachelor's degree from Hofstra University in American studies and is pursuing a master's in public history from Long Island University. He spearheaded the preservation effort of the Charles Lindbergh Monument and Charles Lindbergh Transatlantic Takeoff site in East Garden City on the eve of a property auction. He is the recipient of the national George B. Hartzog Award for youth volunteer service (2009 National Park Service) and he is a member of the Empire State Parent Teacher Association, local East Meadow PTAs, Westbury/New Cassel/Salisbury Kiwanis, Friends of Sagamore Hill National Historic Site and the John & Annie Glenn Historic Site. He serves on the board of directors for the Queens County Farm Museum.

ISSUES: "The two most important issues currently facing the residents of the East Meadow School District is the negative impact that Common Core has had upon East Meadow teachers and students, and the need for a full-day kindergarten program," he said. "As a board member, I will use my position to advocate for the full repeal of Common Core in New York State and for a full-day kindergarten program in the East Meadow School District," he said.

Walter Skinner

BACKGROUND: Skinner, 51, is a lifelong resident of the district. He is an Allstate insurance agent in East Meadow and graduated from East Meadow High School. He has one son in the local schools who is graduating this year and another who graduated three years ago. He is the past president of the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Kiwanis Club. He is an assistant scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts. He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and belongs to all the PTAs within the district. He was first elected to the board in 2006. He is running as a team with Brian O'Flaherty.

ISSUE: The greatest issue facing the district is financial, he said, and he would like to keep existing teachers and programs in place while staying within the state-imposed tax cap. "If elected, the goal is to keep the district moving forward with all the challenges that we have with unfunded mandates and keep the programs in place -- it is always a challenge," he said.

Melissa Tell

BACKGROUND: Tell, 43, is a stay-at-home mother who holds a bachelor's in visual arts from Hunter College. She is an active member of the Dayan Lilah chapter of Hadassah and was named Dayan Lilah fundraiser of the year in 2013. She has been a member of the Sigma Delta Tau sorority since 1990 and is a member of Community Reform Temple. She recently spearheaded a recent clothing drive for the families who lost their property in the apartment building fire in Hempstead. She has three children in the district.

ISSUES: Tell said she feels the community needs a parent representative on the board of education. "A parent with a child/children currently in the education system is needed to represent the voice of the children and parents in this community," she said. "It is imperative to have someone who sees what is going on firsthand with the education of the children in this district," she added. "I feel I can add a unique level of insight and provide a voice for the children and parents in this community on the East Meadow Board of Education."

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