TODAY'S PAPER
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Long Island

Sag Harbor

VOTING

7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Pierson High School.

THE BUDGET

The district proposes a $39,907,110 budget for 2017-18, a 2.92 percent increase from the current $38,773,989. The tax levy would rise 3.49 percent, from $35,065,000 to $36,288,769.

This increase is within the district’s tax-cap limit of 3.8656 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family house would increase 3.34 percent, from $7,382.85 to $7,629.60.

The proposed budget includes a step increase for teachers of 2.1 percent. The district is adding one English as a New Language teacher.

Voters also will be deciding on two propositions. One asks for authorization to establish a transportation fleet reserve fund for the purchase and replacement of buses with a cap of $2 million that will be funded by year-end budget surpluses and/or appropriations. A previous bus replacement reserve fund that has $400,000 available for transfer will be closed out. No additional funds are required from taxpayers.

The other proposition asks voters to approve spending $1.2 million from the district’s existing capital reserve fund to replace windows at the Sag Harbor Elementary School and Pierson Middle/High School before the work permit expires in January 2018. Approval won’t result in additional taxes; the district is required by law to get approval to spend money deposited into the fund.

THE CANDIDATES

Incumbents Diana Kolhoff, Sandi Kruel and Theresa M. Samot and candidates January Kerr and Alex Kriegsman are vying for three at-large seats. Terms are three years.

January Kerr

BACKGROUND: Kerr, 41, is a writer and nonpracticing attorney who has lived in the district for three years. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College and got her law degree from New York Law School. She was executive editor of the Moot Court Association and received the Order of the Barrister and the Orland Award for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy. She has a child in a district school and another who is not yet of school age.

ISSUES: Better communication and an effort to explain to the community what the board can and cannot do are needed, Kerr said. “We need to streamline meetings so the public feels more welcome, and make sure executive session discussions remain on task during closed sessions and if others come out, table the discussion until it reconvenes in public session,” she said. “I can be an effective conduit in making that happen.” Better organization and prioritizing issues of public concern on the agenda are a start, she said.

Diana Kolhoff

BACKGROUND: Kolhoff, 45, has lived in the district for eight years. A former teacher, she is a math education consultant and K-12 instructional coach and is working toward her administrative certificate. She also handles bookkeeping for her family’s antique store. She earned an associate degree at Utah Valley Community College, her bachelor’s degree at Utah State University, and her master’s degree in math at Montana State University-Bozeman. She has two children attending a district school. Kolhoff is currently school board president and has been on the board since 2014.

ISSUES: Kolhoff said she would like to keep working on three district bond projects that are in different phases of development — turning the Stella Maris building into an early-intervention center, and work on two athletic fields — and the board’s development of implementation plans for its new wellness policy that focuses on the whole child. “We’re midstream on a lot of things and I want to see it through to the end,” Kolhoff said. “It’s important to help continue the district’s strong growth with positive leadership.”

Alex Kriegsman

BACKGROUND: Kriegsman, 45, has lived in the district since 2012. He is an attorney specializing in litigation. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Lafayette College, and his law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. He is a former federal prosecutor with the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey, and was a trial attorney for the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He is on the ethics board of the Town of Southampton. Kriegsman has two children in district schools and a third who will attend pre-K in the fall.

ISSUES: Kriegsman said he would like to focus on ethics, professionalism and transparency, and on reducing turnover in administrators. “We have tremendous potential in Sag Harbor. The school board can be more responsive to the community and more friendly to the public,” he said. The district also needs to do a better job of following open-meeting laws and of being transparent about what and why they are doing something, he said, and he said his training will help him try to further these goals.

Sandi Kruel

BACKGROUND: Kruel, 54, a lifelong resident, is a professional volunteer and event planner. She earned her paramedic degree at Pasco-Hernando College in Florida. She is on the executive board of the Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League and is general manager of the Sag Harbor Whalers, a team in the HCBL summer baseball league. She is founder of the Youth Advocacy and Resource Development program in Sag Harbor and serves as special-education child advocate. Her children attended or are attending district schools. She is seeking her third consecutive term and had previously spent two terms on the board before taking six years off.

ISSUES: Kruel said she decided to run again to help handle the upcoming contracts that are part of the two athletic field bond projects, and to provide some continuity. “I bring experience and knowledge to the table,” she said. “We have to maintain programs within the tax cap. And I’m blessed to have been part of the team to increase staff under the cap. I take great pride in that.”

Theresa M. Samot

BACKGROUND: Samot, 58, a lifelong district resident, is a hospital nurse administrator. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the College of New Rochelle and a master’s degree in nursing administration from Adelphi University. She was director of the Alumni Association at the College of New Rochelle, a Girl Scout leader, on the Girl Scout Gold Award Support Team and a delegate to the Suffolk County Girl Scout Council. Her children attended district schools. She is completing her 12th year on the board, where she has served as president for four years and as vice president for four years.

ISSUES: Samot said she wants to see the bond project reach an effective completion and help implement the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Program the district may offer. She said she brings her historical perspective to the board and can offer skills in long-range planning, data-driven decision-making and goal setting, as well as implementing protocols to establish consistent practices and ongoing evaluations.

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