7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Clayton Huey Elementary School.
The district proposes a $40,074,666 budget for 2015-16, a 1.02 percent decrease from the current $40,486,398. The local tax levy would increase 1.3 percent, from $21,357,417 to $21,635,064. The tax levy is increasing even though the budget is decreasing because of an overall decrease in revenue as compared to the prior year, district officials said.
This increase is within the state's tax-cap limit of 4.21 percent, so a simple majority vote is required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 1.3 percent, from $6,964.20 to $7,054.74.
A bond proposition on the ballot is seeking approval of $8,272,884 "to construct alterations and improvements to District school buildings and sites." Approval of the bond would not cause the district to exceed the state cap.
Kathleen Golden, Darrell L. Iehle, Ronald Navas and Annette Rank are seeking two at-large seats. One is for a full three-year term, the other for the remainder of a term that ends June 30, 2016. Incumbent Thomas Hogan is not seeking re-election to the three-year term. For the other seat, Kristen Turnow-Heintz resigned in February, and Robyn Rayburn was appointed to fill the seat until the next election.
BACKGROUND: Golden, 59, is a speech therapist who works for the William Floyd school district. She has lived in the Center Moriches district for 29 years. She has served as a member of the political action committee of the William Floyd United Teachers Association. She earned a bachelor's degree in speech communications from St. Joseph's College in Brooklyn and a master's in education from Dowling College. Her daughter Caitlin is a graduate of the district and is employed by the Eastport/South Manor school district as a special-education teacher. Another daughter also is a graduate of district schools.
ISSUES: "Due to the constraints of the state-imposed tax cap, it is imperative to maintain all academic programs while being fiscally responsible," Golden said. She said the Common Core curriculum, increased testing and new teacher evaluation system -- APPR -- are rapidly changing schools, and board members and district administration must keep residents informed. Golden said she favors Common Core but thinks standardized tests should not be used to evaluate teachers' performance. They should be used as a benchmark for students' achievements and skills, she said.
Darrell L. Iehle
BACKGROUND: Iehle, 46, is a principal owner of Certus Controls, a Plainview-based building automation contractor. He has lived in the district seven years and has two children in district schools. He is a graduate of Center Moriches High School and recently started an annual $5,000 STEM scholarship program through his company that will be awarded to a Center Moriches High School senior.
ISSUES: "Our district suffers from a disconnect between the BOE/administration and the community," Iehle said. "This is especially true in the area of fiscal management." He said there are several areas where the district can "tighten our belts." For instance, by ending "evergreen" contracts that are extended long before their expiration. He also wants to combine the secondary campus administratively, with a total of one principal and one vice principal. He said the policy of out-of-district tuition should be re-evaluated because of its potential negative impact on large-scale cost to the district, such as infrastructure. He wants to restrict voting for bonds to the general May budget vote except in an emergency. He said, "Trust must be restored in order to move us forward."
BACKGROUND: Navas, 48, is a senior manager in the maintenance of equipment department for the Long Island Rail Road. He is a graduate of West Islip High School and is studying for a bachelor's degree in transportation management at SUNY Empire State College. He also is a graduate of the U.S. Marines boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina, and the U.S. Navy School of Music at Little Creek, Virginia. He has been active as a volunteer and director in local lacrosse, soccer and baseball leagues. He has a son who graduated from Center Moriches High School, and two other children currently studying there. His wife, Irene Marie Navas, is a "reservation community liaison" for the district.
ISSUES: "I believe the most crucial issue our District faces is, 'How do you provide a safe, enriching educational environment for our children in an era of limited fiscal resources and crushing tax burdens?' " Navas said. "Though an ardent supporter of the tax cap, I do understand how this necessary check on spending has required painful spending cuts." Using his professional experience in management, Navas wants to provide stronger oversight of the administration. He also wants to restore previously excised security positions and increase access to BOCES vocational education.
BACKGROUND: Rank, 46, has one daughter who graduated from Center Moriches High School and another in the seventh grade. Rank, a podiatric assistant, has lived in the district for 14 years. She graduated from Granite High School in Salt Lake City and has taken college courses at Farmingdale State College and New York Institute of Technology. She is president of the district's PTA and previously served as treasurer of the Center Moriches Beautification Committee. She also has served as a Girl Scout leader and ran the local community play.
ISSUES: Rank said the biggest issue facing the district now is the "negative climate" that has developed regarding education, with voters rejecting several bond proposals. "We need to figure out where the disconnect is between the community and our school district," she said. She said, "We need more transparency with our administration," and that "many of the community's voices have not been heard." Rank would try to bring in more enrichment programs to boost schools, and look "outside the box" to get more grants.