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Long IslandNassau

Lynbrook school district


7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lynbrook High School, Lynbrook North Middle School and Lynbrook South Middle School.


The district proposes a $79,373,791 budget for 2015-16, a 2.78 percent increase from the current $77,229,010. The local tax levy would rise 1.677 percent, from $66,358,631 to $67,471,251.

The increase is within the state's tax-cap limit of 1.677 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 1.54 percent, from $8,984 to $9,122.

The proposed budget includes estimated teacher salary increases subject to negotiations. It adds the equivalent of 6.63 full-time teacher positions.

Ballot propositions ask voters to authorize spending up to $500,000 from the district's technology replacement fund for projectors and computers, and other projects; and to spend up to $1.7 million from its Renovation and Improvement of Facilities Reserve Fund for window replacement, bathroom renovations and other projects at district schools; and to authorize creation of a Building Renovation, Improvement, Upgrade and Equipment Fund of up to $10 million for future districtwide improvements, renovations and alterations. Approval would not affect the tax cap.

District website:


Five candidates are seeking three at-large seats: Lesli Deninno, Renee Gaughran, David Yaker and incumbents Robert Paskoff and Sean Strife. Paskoff and Strife are running as a team. Terms are three years. Catherine Papandrew is not seeking re-election.

Lesli Deninno

BACKGROUND: Deninno, 40, a kindergarten teacher in Rockville Centre public schools, has lived in the district for 12 years. Deninno has a bachelor's in education from LIU Post in Brookville, a master of science in literacy studies from Hofstra University in Hempstead and a school district administration certificate, also from LIU. Deninno is president of the Waverly Park Elementary School PTA and a member of the Lynbrook Council of PTAs. Her three children attend district public schools. This is her first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Deninno said of Lynbrook: "I believe that we have a strong school district whose leaders and teachers truly care about our students." However, Deninno said, "as [are] many New Yorkers, I am completely dissatisfied at the approach and methodologies New York State is forcing the local school districts to comply with." Deninno said she would be an active member of the New York State School Boards Association, would be "in constant contact" with the state Board of Regents and continue to contact local and state politicians to voice community concerns.

Renee Gaughran

BACKGROUND: Gaughran, 42, is a disability accommodations specialist for Queensborough Community College. She has a bachelor's in communications and a master of science degree in elementary education, both from Hofstra University. She is an executive board member of the West End Elementary School PTA. Gaughran's two children attend district public schools. A district resident for 15 years, Gaughran is making her first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Gaughran said she opposes "the continued intrusion of the federal and state government" in the district. Gaughran said, "Since the passage of the No Child Left Behind and the Race to the Top funding mandates, school districts have been saddled with costly testing mandates and forced to implement the unproven Common Core curriculum." Gaughran said Common Core is "in many ways inferior to the curriculum being used in Lynbrook previously." She said, "We have a long, strong history of excellence and these mandates only serve to bog us down."

Robert Paskoff

BACKGROUND: Paskoff, 56, who grew up in the district and has lived there for 13 years, is a pediatric physical therapist in private practice. Paskoff is a 1976 graduate of Lynbrook High School. He earned a bachelor's from Ithaca College and a master of arts in motor learning from Teachers College, Columbia University. Paskoff coaches Catholic Youth Organization basketball. He has three children, two of whom attend a district school, one of whom is a Lynbrook graduate. Paskoff has served on the school board for nine years.

ISSUES: Paskoff said that during his tenure the district has seen "stability and growth in an era of a 2 percent tax cap." He said, "We have been able to continue to grow and add new programs, teachers and teacher development, as a result of good fiscal management." Paskoff said he has experience selecting two school superintendents, including Melissa Burak. Paskoff said that as the superintendent, Burak "continues to develop in a great way" and has "progressive ideas, is hiring good people and has a good relationship with the board."

Sean Strife

BACKGROUND: Strife, 56, grew up in Lynbrook and is a 1976 graduate of Lynbrook High School. Strife has three children, two in district public schools and one a district graduate. Strife is a public insurance adjuster for Friedman Public Adjusters in Valley Stream. He has an associate degree in liberal arts from Nassau Community College. Strife was elected to the school board in 2009 and is seeking his third term on the board. He is vice president of the Lynbrook Football Club, which raises money for the district's football program.

ISSUES: Strife says he is running on his record, which he says includes "keeping the local tax levy increase within the state tax cap while maintaining and even adding programs." He said, "We have been able to budget very well." Strife said that the board negotiates fairly on contracts and has maintained staff levels without any staff being excessed." Strife said the district is working on a bond issue for improvements to Lynbrook High School, which he expects will be presented to district voters in 2016. He said the bond issue is "needed to bring the high school into the 21st century and will include technology and science rooms."

David Yaker

BACKGROUND: Yaker, 41, is a lifelong district resident and a 1992 graduate of Lynbrook High. Yaker is an English teacher. He has a bachelor's in English from Binghamton University and a master of science in education from Queens College. Yaker coaches golf and football at Hewlett High School. His two children attend Lynbrook public schools.

ISSUES: Yaker said that the major issue facing Lynbrook public schools is "how do we navigate the rough waters of the Common Core curriculum, state-mandated testing and newly developed APPR [Annual Professional Performance Review] ratings for our professional staff, while continuing to provide a high-quality educational experience for all of our learners." Yaker said he possesses a "unique skills set" to be a board member because he is "a lifelong resident, a teacher and coach for the past 18 years." He said he would like to make district school board meetings "more collaborative and transparent."

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