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Long IslandNassau

Oyster Bay-East Norwich school district


7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Oyster Bay High School


The district proposes a $55,409,484 budget for 2015-16, a 1.52 percent increase from the current $54,578,478. The local tax levy would rise 1.52 percent, from $50,436,548 to $51,203,142.

The increase is within the state's tax-cap limit of 1.68 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 paid on the average single-family home because final assessment information was not available.

Teacher salary increases are estimated, subject to negotiations. The proposed budget cuts one elementary teacher position due to declines in enrollment and adds two teachers in the English as a new language program and two teacher assistants in the English language arts program. It also includes funding for a college engineering program.

A ballot proposition asks voters to authorize spending up to $2,438,385 from the district capital reserve fund for school building improvement projects and equipment purchases. The spending would not affect the tax rate.

District website:


David Asher, Todd Cronin, Laurie Kowalsky and incumbent Maryann Santos are running for two at-large seats. Stephen Zbodula is not seeking re-election. Terms are four years.

David Asher

BACKGROUND: Asher, 54, is executive director of Alpha Healthcare in Manhattan. Asher has lived in the district 15 years. He has a bachelor of science degree in general studies from New York Institute of Technology in Old Westbury. He earned 24 graduate credits in instructional technology at NYIT. Asher began volunteering for the Oyster Bay Fire Department a month after 9/11 and now is an honorary member of the department. He is a Catholic Youth Organization coach at St. Dominic Roman Catholic Church in Oyster Bay. Asher has three children, two who are district graduates, and one who graduated from a public school elsewhere. He also is raising two nephews, one attending public school and the other a district graduate, and a niece who also is attending a district school. This is Asher's first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Asher said that he is running for the school board as a result of his children studying in a student exchange program in Denmark. Asher recently hosted 19 Danish students on their visit to Oyster Bay. Asher said, "I see exchange programs as a real opportunity to expand the reach of our school in a tax-neutral way." Asher said he started an initiative to introduce crew, an Ivy League rowing sport that begins in the fall, at Oyster Bay High School. "It's a sport that is attractive to nontraditional athletes," Asher said. "We can see the bay from the school campus, so we should probably have some sports that have to do with the water."

Todd Cronin

BACKGROUND: Cronin, 50, is a lifelong school district resident and a 1983 graduate of Oyster Bay High School. He studied for two years at Nassau Community College in Garden City but did not complete a degree because he went to work for the NYPD. A graduate of both the New York City and Nassau County police academies, Cronin is a retired Nassau police detective who worked in the Crime Scene Unit in Bellmore. Cronin served as a chief of both the Atlantic Steamer Fire Company in Oyster Bay and the East Norwich Fire Company, and is a trustee of the latter. Cronin's three children attend district public schools. This is his first run for the school board.

ISSUES: "The students in the school district should be the main priority," Cronin said. "We need to ensure our students are well-prepared for the future, with educational courses and technology, regardless if they are continuing on to college or the workforce." Cronin said schools should be learning with "top-of-the-line technology." He said school budget cuts shouldn't "penalize the students, whether it be academics or activities."

Laurie Kowalsky

BACKGROUND: Kowalsky, 49, has lived in the school district 21 years. Kowalsky is an intellectual property attorney for Philips Electronics in Briarcliff Manor. Kowalsky has a bachelor of engineering degree in electrical engineering from Stony Brook University and a law degree from Hofstra University. An active PTA member, Kowalsky chaired the PTA Parking fundraisers at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School and Oyster Bay High School. Her three children attend district public schools. This is her first run for the school board.

ISSUES: "Like all districts, we are facing the challenge of increasing academic excellence while staying within the two-percent cap," Kowalsky said. She is a supporter of "introducing computer coding and technology more extensively in the younger grades." She said "this can be done by shared services, where technology, and, specifically, programming, is used to teach the steps in math problems, writing programs for projects in various other classes and generally teaching programming as a separate class for younger students. In the future, children will need to know how computers operate and run" because, she said, "computer programming will become more important no matter what field they enter."

Maryann Santos

BACKGROUND: Santos, 50, has lived in the school district 19 years. Santos is a public finance attorney at CapitalOne Bank in Melville. She has a bachelor of science degree in accounting from St. John's University in Queens and master of business administration and law degrees, also from St. John's. Santos was elected in 2011 and is seeking her second four-year term. She has two children attending district public schools.

ISSUES: Santos said the most important issues facing the district are "managing the budget and state mandates while continuing to provide a quality education for our children. I want to make sure that our programs focus on high-performing as well as special-needs and mainstream students."

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