7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at Bayport-Blue Point High School gymnasium.
The district proposes a $69,531,543 budget for 2015-16, a 1.8 percent increase from the current $68,299,236. The local tax levy would increase 0.99 percent, from $46,752,313 to $47,212,895.
The increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 0.99 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase approximately 0.99 percent, from between $7,600 and $7,700 to between $7,700 and $7,800. The proposed budget increase includes an average 2.5 percent overall salary increase for teachers, including contract, step and column raises. It also includes increased funding for field trips, occupational education, facilities upkeep, computer and math help and science digital technology.
Christopher Richardt is challenging incumbent and school board president Rebecca Campbell. Gina Murphy and John Vazquez are running for the seat of William Milligan, who is not running for re-election. Campbell and Vazquez are running as a team. Terms are three years.
Rebecca CampbellBACKGROUND: Campbell, 51, is a lawyer with a bachelor's degree in economics from the College of William and Mary and a master's degree in political philosophy from London School of Economics. Her law degree is from the University of Virginia School of Law. A district resident for 17 years, she has two children in district schools now and two who have graduated. She has been school board president since 2013. She also is treasurer of Bayport-Blue Point Community Tennis Association.
ISSUES: Campbell led the board as the district rolled out its "Thinking Forward" plan for facilities and student development, which may lead to a bond vote in the fall. "We are trying to drive academic achievement in this district," she said. "But as we go into the 21st century, our classrooms for the most part look the way they did 40 years ago." The plan calls for upgrades to science labs and classrooms and building basics like windows. Athletic fields would also be included. "It's important to maintain consistency on the board," she said. "You don't want to change horses in midstream."
Christopher RichardtBACKGROUND: Richardt, 40, is principal of Hampton Bays High School. He holds a master's degree in middle school education and a professional diploma in school district administration from LIU Post. A district resident for 11 years, he has two children attending district public schools. He also serves on the Bayport-Blue Point budget advisory and facilities committees. This is his first run for the school board.
ISSUES: Richardt supports the district's "Thinking Forward" plan, he said. But with approximately 60 percent of students opting out of Common Core exams this year, the district also needs a strong advocate to work with local and state legislators on education reform and state aid, he said. "If we're going to develop a first-class educational system, people need to advocate what we believe is in the best interest for our kids," he said.
Gina MurphyBACKGROUND: Murphy, 40, teaches special education at Brentwood High School. She has a master's degree in special education from Dowling College and a bachelor's degree in elementary education and deaf education from Flagler College in Florida. A district resident for 10 years, she has a son attending district public schools. She is a member of the Brentwood High School PTA, SPTA and school improvement team. She also leads several student activities. This is her first run for the school board.
ISSUES: Murphy said her background as a teacher has prepared her to advocate for students. Every time the district spends money, "I want to know, is the spending good for student learning or not," she said. Student safety and transportation are among her biggest concerns, and she said last year she successfully pushed for a referendum to expand bus service for students at no extra cost to taxpayers. "My opinion is that there's always a way to make things work. It just takes time and effort to figure out."
John VazquezBACKGROUND: Vazquez, 43, is director of business development for American Express. He holds a bachelor of science in business management from Binghamton University and a master of business administration from New York University's Stern School of Business. A district resident for eight years, he has three children attending district public schools. He also serves on the Sylvan Avenue PTA, coaches girls lacrosse and serves on the Bayport-Blue Point Youth Lacrosse board of directors. This is his first run for the school board.
ISSUES: Vazquez said he would work to implement Common Core guidelines for the district, although he opposes some because he said they place too much emphasis on exams. They result in "more time taken away for teachers to prep, less time for real true learning in the school day," he said. But, he said, guidelines can be "adapted" for the district. He said he would continue the work of the current board, which he praised for being "transparent" and working well with administration to "establish a vision for the future."