7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Floral Park-Bellerose School and John Lewis Childs School.
The district proposes a $29,200,518 budget for 2015-16, a 2.81 percent increase from the current $28,403,479. The local tax levy would rise 1.88 percent, from $22,456,631 to $22,878,153. The increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 1.88 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 1.88 percent, from $2,759 to $2,811.
The proposed budget estimates teacher salary increases subject to negotiations. It adds a special-education teacher position, and 0.7 kindergarten and 0.5 English as a Second Language teacher positions. Elementary school class sizes will be reduced. Staffing and programs would be maintained at current levels.
A ballot proposition asks voters to authorize a $3.9 million capital reserve fund for projects such as kitchen and bathroom renovations, elevator refurbishment, ceiling replacement and other projects at district schools.
Incumbent Laura Ferone is being challenged by Roni Kropf. Incumbent David Fowler is being challenged by Elizabeth Rossi. Terms are three years.
Laura FeroneBACKGROUND: Ferone, 50, is a registered nurse at Long Island Health Care, a home infusion company. She has lived in the district for 26 years. Ferone won a seat on the school board in 2007 to complete the remaining two years of the term of a board member who had resigned. She was re-elected twice. Ferone holds a bachelor of nursing and master of arts degrees in nursing from New York University. She also has a master of science degree in nursing from Pace University in Pleasantville. Ferone has four children, one attending the elementary school district, one attending the public high school district, and two district graduates. Ferone has been active in the John Lewis Childs PTA for 19 years. She teaches religious education at Our Lady of Victory Roman Catholic Church in Floral Park. Ferone is running as a team with David Fowler.
ISSUES: Ferone said "a critical issue facing our district is continuing to navigate the New York State Education reform while maintaining and preserving all that we value in our schools." Ferone said achieving this goal has been "complicated" by a lack of "significant funding increases" for the district. Ferone said if re-elected she would continue to work with local legislators to "secure appropriate funding and maintain a voice for our students." Ferone continued, "I will continue to collaborate with our teachers, administrators and parents to provide an enriched environment that promotes success for all students."
Roni Kropf BACKGROUND: Kropf, 42, has lived in the district three years. Kropf is a science teacher and department head at Memorial Junior High School in the Valley Stream Central High School District. Kropf has a bachelor of science degree in neuropsychology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master of social work degree from Adelphi University in Garden City. She earned administration certification from The College of St. Rose in Albany. She has three children, two of whom attend district schools. Her third child is enrolled in a parochial nursery school because Kropf said the district does not have a public nursery school. She is running as a team with Elizabeth Rossi.
ISSUES: Kropf said she has a "growing concern" about the "daily emphasis of ELA [English Language Arts] and math prep in our elementary schools to prepare our children for the state assessment." She said, "This often leaves other subjects such as cursive writing, social studies, science and the arts to suffer major time constraints or to become absent from the curriculum." Kropf said the district should have a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program and a certified science teacher in each school building. She said these additions would "provide students with a solid background in essential multi-discipline concepts to achieve mastery when entering junior high school and high school and tomorrow's workplace."
David FowlerBACKGROUND: Fowler, 59, is an attorney with the McCabe Collins McGeough Fowler Levine & Nogan law firm in Carle Place. First elected to the school board in 1997, he has lived in the district for 21 years. Fowler has a bachelor of arts degree in government and politics, and a law degree, both from St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens. He is a member of the Nassau County and Suffolk County bar associations and the Nassau-Suffolk Trial Lawyers Association. Fowler's four children are all district graduates.
ISSUES: Fowler said that the most important issue facing the district is "to maintain our history of providing a quality education at a reasonable cost." Fowler said the district has maintained "among the lowest per capita pupil expenditure figures in Nassau County but has continued to turn out high-achieving students." Fowler said that he was proud that the district avoided significant staff cuts during the recent economic downturn and despite reductions in state aid. Fowler said that he was proud of "maintaining and upgrading our buildings."
Elizabeth RossiBACKGROUND: Rossi, 45, has lived in the district for 40 years. Rossi is director of operations for the Manhattan-based New York State Association for Affordable Housing, a nonprofit organization. She is a 1988 graduate of Sewanhaka High School. Rossi has a bachelor of business administration degree from Adephi University in Garden City. Rossi's two children attend a district public school. Rossi ran for the school board last year and lost. She is running as a team with Kropf.
ISSUES: Rossi said district schools have been "forced to teach an unbalanced curriculum of math/English Language Arts." Rossi said if elected she would want the district to make "necessary scheduling changes and decrease emphasis on test outcomes to ensure all students learn in an engaging atmosphere." Rossi said "arts, physical education/recess and socialization are key to thriving during childhood and have been pushed out of school life." Rossi said she and her running mate want science and social studies to be taught on an equal basis with ELA and math . . . to instill a love of learning for children of all aptitudes." She added, "Working directly with teachers would be the highlight of my job on the board of education."