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Babylon school district


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Babylon Memorial Grade School.


The district proposes a $48,763,666 budget for 2015-16, a 0.94 percent increase from the current $48,310,474. The local levy would increase 2.97 percent, from $37,446,077 to $38,558,225.

The increase is below the state's tax-cap limit of 3.34 percent, so a simple majority vote will be needed to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 2.97 percent, from $8,801 to $9,062.

The proposed budget includes estimates of teacher salaries subject to ongoing contract negotiations. It also includes the addition of 7.3 full-time teaching staff.

In addition, two propositions are on the ballot. One changes a student's bus transportation eligibility to three-quarters of a mile, down from 1 mile. The other establishes a capital reserve fund of $1 million for construction and improvement projects. Neither would result in a tax increase that would exceed the district's state-mandated cap.

District website:


Incumbents Ann Donaldson and Lisa McKeown, along with newcomer Tricia Pane, are vying for two at-large seats. Terms are three years.

Ann Donaldson

BACKGROUND: Donaldson, 49, is a social studies teacher with the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District, and has been on the board of education since 2012. She has a bachelor's in education from the University at Buffalo and a master's in liberal arts from Stony Brook University. Donaldson has been a board member of the Babylon Youth Wrestling program since 2005 and a religion teacher at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church since 2005. She has lived in the district 20 years; one child graduated from district schools and two younger ones are enrolled.

ISSUES: Donaldson said she would like to focus on continuity by having teachers from multiple grade levels have a master education plan so that as students "move through the grade levels there are no surprises, so we're teaching them from one level to the next." She also would like to have more local control over curriculum. "It's a simple expression with a lot of meaning: Take back our schools," Donaldson said. "I think the experts are in our districts and we have to give them credit and they should develop standards."

Lisa McKeown

BACKGROUND: McKeown, 57, is an aquatics supervisor at the YMCA in Bay Shore. She also spent more than five years as a financial analyst at L'Oreal.

She has a bachelor's degree in English and communications from the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Bronx. A district resident for 24 years, her two daughters attended district schools. She has served on the board since 2009 and is its current president. She has been a Girl Scout leader for 17 years and was an early founder of Babylon Helps, which formed after superstorm Sandy to assist residents. She also is on the YMCA Advisory Council and its building and grounds committee.

ISSUES: McKeown said she would focus on maintaining and expanding offerings while being cost-conscious. One way could be seeking out more grant opportunities or company sponsorships and donations. "We need to come up with other ways to finance some things because things are still going to be tough with that [tax] cap," McKeown said.

She also would focus on classroom education. "We need to prepare our students for the future," McKeown said. "We need to teach to the whole child, not just the test."

Tricia Pane

BACKGROUND: Pane, 47, is a chemistry teacher at Bethpage High School and spent 10 years as an administrator focusing on early intervention programs for the Medical and Health Research Association. She has a bachelor's degree in biology from Wake Forest University and a master's degree in public administration from Baruch College School of Public Affairs. From 2010 to 2014, she was on the board of directors -- two years as president -- for Babylon Little League. She has been a lector at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church for 10 years. Pane has been a district resident for 15 years. One child attended district schools and another is currently a student.

ISSUES: One main issue facing the board is the changing dynamic of education and how pressures from state mandated testing and teacher ratings affect students, Pane said. "I have my hand on the pulse of what is happening on a daily basis," she said. "I do believe in academic rigor, but Common Core may not be the way to do that." Evaluating transportation costs, routes and efficiency is another area she would focus on. Pane also said she would work to build consensus and make the board more effective.

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