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East Moriches school district


1 to 9 p.m. at East Moriches Elementary School.


The district proposes a $26,626,268 budget for 2015-16, a 2.9 percent increase over the current $25,876,539. The local tax levy would increase 2.91 percent, from $18,586,902 to $19,129,167. This increase equals the state's tax-cap limit of 2.91 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 2.5 percent, from $9,980.40 to $10,229.60.

The proposed budget includes an average salary step increase of 2 percent for teachers. There are no cuts in services, staff or programs.

Residents also will vote on a proposition to designate the nearby high schools of Center Moriches, Eastport-South Manor and Westhampton Beach as receiving schools for East Moriches students in grades 9-12 for up to five years, from July of this year through June 2019.

Residents also will vote on approving a $765,933 library budget.

District website:


Incumbent Joann Lapinski, William Hempfling and Lisa Pesce are running for two at-large seats. Terms are three years. Incumbent Raymond Hayes is not running for a board seat.

Joann M. Lapinski

BACKGROUND: Lapinski, 50, is a stay-at-home mom. She formerly worked at Stony Brook University Hospital as assistant executive director of corporate services. She received her master's degree in management and policy and a bachelor's degree in biology from Stony Brook University. She is a member of the East Moriches PTO, Maureen's Haven, Long Island Cares and the Rotary Club. She was also a parent representative of the district's wellness committee and worked on several curriculum development workshops. She helped organize the recess activity program. She is a certified sun safety instructor at the Suffolk County Department of Health Services and BOCES. She has been a trustee of the board of education for three years. She is currently vice president.

ISSUES: Lapinski said "navigating through current issues surrounding Common Core learning standards and the New York State assessments while meeting growing expenses" for unfunded mandates "are some of the greatest challenges that we face." She said she will continue to "ensure that our district receives appropriate funding to support our mission of educational excellence." She said she will focus on "utilizing cooperative services whenever and wherever possible to ensure effectively use of all funds, while striving to stay within the tax cap."

William Hempfling

BACKGROUND: Hempfling, 43, is a middle school social studies teacher. His wife is a fifth-grade teacher at Canaan Elementary School in the Patchogue-Medford School District. Hempfling has a bachelor's degree in secondary education and history from St. Joseph's College. He also has a master's degree in liberal arts and science from Stony Brook University. Hempfling is a member of the Moriches Bay Rotary Club and a football, basketball and lacrosse coach for the Moriches Youth Organization. He has a fifth-grader at the East Moriches Middle School and a third-grader at East Moriches Elementary School.

ISSUES: Hempfling said the district's school board "should have an educator's perspective to take on the challenges that our school will have to deal with." He said he can "help by working collaboratively with fellow board members, administrators, teachers and communicate on the educational and fiscal issues that face district."

Lisa Pesce

BACKGROUND: Pesce, 42, is a teacher in the Sachem School District and chairwoman of world languages department for Sachem High School East. She has one sister who is an elementary school teacher and another who is a high school guidance counselor at the Sachem School District. Pesce has a bachelor's degree in Italian studies and a master's degree in multicultural education from Iona College. She has a master's degree in school district administration from Stony Brook University. Pesce has served as a leadership adviser, student government adviser, renaissance coordinator, youth minister and cheerleading coach at the high school and college level. She has twin fifth-graders at East Moriches Elementary School. She has a 5-year-old son who will enter kindergarten at East Moriches Elementary School in the fall.

ISSUES: Pesce said her knowledge as an educator and administrator would be an asset "to implement the changes from the state Education Department in a way that is comprehensive and equitable to our students and teachers and that properly elevates our students in a reasonable time frame." She said her goal is to ensure that "our school district maintains its standards of excellence regardless of the turbulent climate that has been created."

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