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Long IslandSuffolk

Half Hollow Hills school district


7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Half Hollow Hills High School East.


The district proposes a budget of $238,658,101 for 2015-16, a 1.9 percent increase from the current $234,216,849. The local tax levy would increase 2.34 percent, from $190,898,714 to $195,369,595.

The increase is equal to the state's tax-cap limit of 2.34 percent, so a simple majority will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 2.34 percent, from $11,118 to $11,378 in the Town of Huntington, and from $5,884 to $6,022 in the Town of Babylon.

The proposed budget includes raises for teachers equal to about 2.3 percent in step increases and another 0.5 percent contract increase.

The budget calls for a reduction of four elementary teachers due to declining enrollment. It also calls for the addition of 15 new teachers, which includes restoring a health teacher at the elementary level, as well as academic intervention service support programs. It also includes new subject positions, such as English as a new language, which is mandated.

District website:


Newcomers Stephanie Gurin, Adam Kleinberg, Scott McElhiney and Adrian Montalvo are vying for two at-large seats. Gurin and Kleinberg are running as a team, as are McElhiney and Montalvo. Incumbents Frank Grimaldi and James Ptucha are not running. Terms are three years.

Stephanie Gurin

BACKGROUND: Gurin, 47, is a community volunteer and certified teacher who has lived in the district 13 years. She has a bachelor's in education from Baruch College and a master's in early childhood education from Brooklyn College and should earn a master's this month in educational technology from LIU Post. Gurin is immediate past president of Half Hollow Hills parent-teacher council, where she served for 11 years in leadership posts. She is education chairwoman for Suffolk Regional PTA and treasurer for Half Hollow Hills High School West lacrosse booster club. She is a commissioner and coach for Hills Fury Basketball and treasurer for Greek Orthodox Archdiocesan District Olympics. One child attended district schools, another is a current student. She is running as a team with Adam Kleinberg.

ISSUES: Gurin said she wants to use technology and innovation to enrich and enhance the school environment. "We need to spark the creativity and a love of learning for the students," she said. "We're losing a lot of that now because the focus is on the tests." She also wants to facilitate more community cohesion and plans to create a monthly newsletter to distribute information to the community. She will also use social media and other technology to inform residents.

Adam Kleinberg

BACKGROUND: Kleinberg, 41, is an attorney appointed by insurance carriers to defend school districts, and a partner at Sokoloff Stern. He has a bachelor's in communication from University at Albany and a law degree from Touro College. Kleinberg is a charter member of Special Education Parent Teacher Association and its board of education representative. He is also a member of the Academically High Aptitude Program and Parent Teacher Association. He has lived in the district 12 years and both of his children attend schools there. He is running as a team with Stephanie Gurin.

ISSUES: Kleinberg said he will speak out for students, parents and teachers about important issues, one of which is the growing opt-out movement protesting testing requirements. He said the board of education could do more to inform parents and to debate the issue. "We can work together as a community to make sure the leadership is acting in accordance with our community values and goals," said Kleinberg, who has opted his children out of the testing. He also wants to restore the nine-period day and sixth-grade foreign language program.

Scott McElhiney

BACKGROUND: McElhiney, 44, is a principal at Bayville Elementary School in Locust Valley and has spent 16 years as a public school educator. He has a bachelor's in education from Towson University in Maryland, a master's in elementary education from LIU Post, a master's in educational technology from LIU Post and a certificate in school district administration from Stony Brook University. He has been an assistant principal and is a member of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum, and National Association of Elementary School Principals. A district resident for 14 years, he has two children who attend schools there. He is running as a team with Adrian Montalvo.

ISSUES: McElhiney said he would focus on high standards and fiscal responsibility. He said he feels the district is well-run and has a good reputation. One issue is declining enrollment and how to deal with that in a way that works both for the community and school district. "I want people to know I will be their voice," he said. The district "has earned a reputation for academic excellence and fiscal responsibility," he said. "Today more than ever, we as community members know what it means to do more with less."

Adrian Montalvo

BACKGROUND: Montalvo, 46, is a construction project manager who has lived in the district 19 years. He graduated high school from St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, Queens, and attended Stony Brook University. Montalvo is a board member and coach of Half Hollow Hills Youth Football League and Hills Youth Lacrosse. He is a Challenger Lacrosse coordinator and league commissioner for USA Football Certified. Montalvo has one child attending district schools. He has experience in mentoring, project management, contract negotiations and budgeting. "I bring a different perspective -- the average guy, the average taxpayer," he said. He is running as a team with Scott McElhiney.

ISSUES: Montalvo said he would focus on providing a solid and comprehensive educational experience for all students. "Everyone has to feel involved," he said. "Everyone has to feel important. Everyone has to move forward. . . . We must continue to create an environment that empowers and motivates all students at all levels. By helping students identify and understand the practical or real-life application for a concept, they will develop confidence and be motivated."

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