7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Amityville Memorial High School and Northeast Elementary School.
The district proposes a budget of $86,233,101 for 2015-16, an increase of 3.97 percent from the current $82,940,931. The local tax levy would rise 1.82 percent, from $55,404,402 to $56,411,701.
This increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 1.82 percent, so a simple majority is required to approve the budget. District officials said there are too many variables from the office of the tax assessor to provide a calculation on the dollar amount on school taxes paid on the average single-family home; however, they said "we have a tax-freeze compliant budget and therefore there should be no tax increase."
The budget funds a 1 percent contractual increase in teacher salaries with a freeze on step increases. The budget calls for hiring 14 additional teachers to address increased enrollment, mandates to provide expanded bilingual instruction (Part 154) and movement to a nine-period day on the secondary level.
Incumbent Nathan King is being challenged by Juan Leon and incumbent Jeannette Santos is being challenged by Sydney Martin. Terms are three years.
BACKGROUND: King, 62, recently retired from working as a hearing officer for the New York State Division of Veterans Affairs and has lived in the district for 55 years. He is completing his third term on the board. He and his wife, Greta, have four adult children, including three who graduated from the local schools. He earned an associate degree from Suffolk County Community College and a bachelor's in business science and management from LIU Post. He has served as a major in the New York Guard and is a member of the Town of Babylon Planning Board, the Babylon Child Care Council board and the North Amityville Celebration Committee. He is a former vice president of the Board of Education, a former CYO basketball coach and a former Amityville Little League coach.
ISSUES: King said one of the most pressing issues for the district is to find and hire "good qualified administrators" who "will move this district to a former excellence we haven't seen in years." He said the district appears to be moving in that direction with the hiring of a new superintendent and staff. He also said educators "must get a firm foothold on the Common Core debate that is creating so much controversy it threatens our already struggling students' academic success."
BACKGROUND: Leon, 31, a congressional caseworker, graduate student and veteran, has lived in the district for 24 years. He received a bachelor's degree from Farmingdale State College in bioscience and is earning his MBA at SUNY Oswego. He is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He is a member of the Bay Village Civic Association and the Amityville Historical Society. He served as a combat infantryman/medic in Afghanistan from 2008-2009 with Long Island's "Fighting 69th." He was awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge for his involvement in ground combat and he also served in the U.S. Army National Guard from 2003-10. He and his wife, Lorraine Wade-Leon, have one child in elementary school in the district.
ISSUES: Children in Amityville deserve a 21st century education, he said. "By the time my son graduates high school in Amityville, there will be jobs available for his class that we don't even have names for yet," he said. "That's how fast technology moves, and we need to be prepared or be left behind." He said, "When our young professionals graduate Amityville, we need them to come back and help mentor the next class," and added: "For now, our students are not seeking fame and fortune. All that they are looking for right now is a fair shot; and they are counting on us to get it right."
Jeannette SantosBACKGROUND: Santos, 76, is a retired Suffolk County Youth Bureau executive director who has lived in Amityville for 56 years. Santos holds a business administration degree from Brown Business School, a former school in Queens. Her three grown children graduated from Amityville public schools. Santos was first elected to the board in 1980 and served for 21 years and then ran again in 2012 and was elected.
ISSUES: Santos said supporting improvement in curriculum and instruction is a top priority and she is inspired by the dedication of Amityville's students, teachers, administration and staff. "Being transparent and equitable in all decisions made by the district is a must," she said. Santos said she plans to foster greater communication between the board and parents and she plans to attend school events to listen to concerns. She said students must realize their maximum potential to be successful in the workplace, community college or university. "I believe every child, regardless of where they live in our district, deserves the best opportunity to succeed."
Sydney MartinBACKGROUND: Martin, 55, who is retired from the FDNY, is the former head track coach at Amityville High School, former assistant football coach at the high school and retired head coach of track and field at St. Anthony's High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Brandeis University and attended the New York Fire Academy. He holds a level-three coaching certification and is enrolled at United Theological Seminary. He has three children, including two who have graduated from the Amityville schools. He has lived in the district 25 years.
ISSUES: Amityville needs transparency, from the superintendent's office to all district taxpayers, he said. "We are here first and foremost for the children and not for our own agendas," he said. He said the district needs to create a culture of hope and he plans to encourage residents to attend board of education meetings as well as boost civic engagement. "When only 920 people vote in the school board elections, we are not investing in our children," he said.