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Long IslandNassau

Valley Stream 13 school district


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the James A. Dever, Howell Road, Wheeler Avenue and Willow Road schools.


The district proposes a $46,966,691 budget for 2015-16, a 2.52 percent increase from the current $45,811,975. The local tax levy would increase 2.53 percent, from $34,100,613 to $34,963,678.

This increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 2.53 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 2.53 percent, from $3,457.06 to $3,544.52.

The proposed budget includes actual increases in teacher salaries, but school officials did not disclose the percent increase for an average teacher. The budget also includes funding for additional ESL and special education teachers.

District website:


Incumbent Jeanne Greco Jacobs faces a challenge from Denise Diodato; incumbent William Stris is challenged by Vincent Toma in the by-seat election. Terms are three years.

Jeanne Greco Jacobs

BACKGROUND: Greco Jacobs, 60, an attorney, has lived in the district for 30 years and served on the board since 2003. She is vice president of the Valley Stream Central High School District Board, where she has served since 2003. Greco Jacobs has three grown sons who attended district schools. She is a past president of the District 13 Interschool PTA Council, a past co-president of the James A. Dever PTA, and has held officer positions on the District 13 and Central High School District school boards. Greco Jacobs received a bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University in 1977, and a juris doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1981.

ISSUES: Greco Jacobs said her longtime involvement in local education gives her an "in-depth knowledge" of the district's needs and the challenges of delivering exceptional public education. She said she is committed to balancing the need for fiscal responsibility and placing children's interests first, including through modern technology and capital improvements to aging buildings. "Our district needs to improve academic performance and raise expectations to afford our students 21st century opportunities," Greco Jacobs said.

Denise Diodato

BACKGROUND: Diodato, 44, is a continuing education analyst for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, and has lived in the district her entire life. Diodato graduated from Central High School, holds various professional finance certifications and is a notary public. One of Diodato's daughters is a senior at Central High School and another is a seventh-grader at Memorial Junior High School. She is former Wheeler School PTA member.

ISSUES: Diodato said she will use her experience in finance and business management to support better communication among parents, administrators, teachers, students and the community, with the aim of identifying the district's goals and priorities. "I am dedicated to not only being an informed parent, but also an informed board member for District 13," she said.

William Stris

BACKGROUND: Stris, 71, a retired New York City schoolteacher, has lived in the district for 37 years. He has served on the District 13 board for 33 years, and the Central High School District for 25 years. He has one grown son who attended schools in the district. Stris earned a bachelor's degree from Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois, and a master's degree in elementary and early childhood education from Long Island University in Brooklyn. Stris also has served as founding director, past president and current historian of the District 13 Educational Foundation.

ISSUES: Stris said he is committed to providing training to parents and school staff on how to implement the Common Core curriculum, but will also lobby elected and education leaders for "reasonable expectations in the short run." Stris said providing a safe environment for students is a "primary goal," and that he also aims to "prevent those who do not pay school taxes from illegally attending our schools."

Vincent Toma

BACKGROUND: Toma, 49, is an architectural planning manager working in the healthcare field and has lived in the district for 13 years. He has two children in North High School and another in the Willow Road School. Toma earned a bachelor's degree from St. John's University in 1992, a master of business administration degree from Long Island University in 2014, and also studied in Queens College's management studies program. He is a former president of the Norwood Park Civic Association.

ISSUES: Toma said he wants to find "creative solutions" to fund important programs, including those providing STEM curriculum, educational enrichment, and clubs. He said funding programs is "one of the most difficult challenges" facing the district. Toma said his goal is to work with district leadership to encourage them to use budget allocations and grant funds to fund investments in technology and STEM programs.


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