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Long IslandNassau

Plainedge school district


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Plainedge High School gymnasium.


The district proposes a $90,185,141 budget for 2015-16, a 1.95 percent increase from the current $88,463,342. The local tax levy would increase 1.95 percent to $64,663,700, from the current $63,428,859. The increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 1.95 percent, so a simple majority vote is needed for approval.

The district said it could not give a dollar amount for school district taxes on the average single-family home because "the adjusted base calculations are not available at this time."

Residents will vote on ballot issues to authorize spending $4.245 million from the capital reserve fund for various projects, and to create a Capital Reserve Fund II, which will have a maximum amount of $25 million, plus investment income.

All money from the new fund would require voter approval and a public breakdown of the projects, the district said. The initiatives would not result in the district exceeding the cap.

The district said increases in teacher salaries are subject to negotiations.

The budget does not call for reductions in teachers and other staff, and adds 10.8 staff for a new reading and writing initiative.

District website:


Incumbent Dennis Gustafson is being challenged by Kenneth Auer Jr. Eric Szillus is running unopposed for the seat held by Mary Lowe, who is not seeking re-election. Sisi Wong Townson is running unopposed for the seat held by Maryann Capone, who is not seeking re-election. Terms are three years.

Kenneth Auer Jr.

BACKGROUND: Auer, 43, is an assistant principal for students at Archbishop Molloy High School. His wife is a teacher in the Levittown school district, and they have three children in district schools. He has lived in the district 12 years. He earned his bachelor's degree in criminal justice from LIU Post. He is in the LIU Post Baseball Hall of Fame.

ISSUES: As a newcomer, Auer said, he wants to "give back to my community." He said his philosophy as a trustee would be to let educators do their jobs, "and help if I can." He said he hopes his background in education will help other board members understand how teachers and administrators function.

Dennis Gustafson

BACKGROUND: Gustafson, 48, principal at an insurance agency, is running for a third term. He has three children in district schools. He has a bachelor's degree in math from Stony Brook University and has held positions in several school and community groups, including basketball coach with the Massapequa PAL. He is being honored this year as Father of the Year by the American Diabetes Association.

ISSUES: Gustafson said the most important issue facing the district is "finding a way to navigate the state's illogical/irrational approach" to teacher evaluations based on state tests. He said the state should provide more information about the test results, such as the exact questions each student got wrong. "Unless you know what questions they got right and what they got wrong, you don't know what to focus on next," he said. "I believe it is OK to use test results to evaluate a district, as compared to neighboring districts, but not an individual," he said.

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