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Mount Sinai school district


6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Mount Sinai Elementary School.


The district proposes a $56,757,395 budget for 2015-16, a 3.28 percent increase from the current $54,955,155.

The local tax levy would rise 1.86 percent, from $37,772,807 to $38,475,208. The increase equals the state's tax-cap limit of 1.86 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 1.86 percent, from $8,589 to $8,749.

The budget would fund a new, full-day kindergarten program. Teachers would receive a 1.2 percent contractual salary increase beginning in December, plus a step increase of about 1 percent.

District website:


Four candidates are running for two at-large seats: John DeBlasio, Joanne Rentz, Michael Riggio and incumbent Lynn Capobianco. Terms are three years. Donna Compagnone is not seeking re-election.

John DeBlasioBACKGROUND: DeBlasio, 54, has lived in the district for 14 years. He is an attorney in private practice with expertise in personal-injury litigation. DeBlasio has a bachelor of business administration degree in marketing from Hofstra University and a law degree from the Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center. He is a coach for the Mount Sinai girls lacrosse program. DeBlasio's three children attend district public schools.

ISSUES: DeBlasio said he would work to formulate a school budget that "maintains and if possible adds school programs while controlling expenditures to remain within the tax cap." DeBlasio said the district could save money by offering AP courses in cooperation with other districts. "My experience as an attorney and a business owner together with my prior dealings with pupil services within the district give me a unique perspective in determining ways to reduce expenses and inefficiencies within the budget," DeBlasio said.

Lynn CapobiancoBACKGROUND: Capobianco, 65, is a retired Mount Sinai High School librarian. Capobianco has three children, two of whom are district graduates, and one attending a district public school. Capobianco has a bachelor of science degree in early childhood education from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, and master of science degrees in education and library and information science, both from LIU Post. A district resident for 25 years, Capobianco is seeking a second three-year term on the board.

ISSUES: Capobianco said the district is at "an educational crossroads" with the "rollout of Common Core standards," standardized tests aligned with Common Core and teacher evaluations tied to student achievement. Capobianco proposes a letter-writing and lobbying campaign to local and state representatives to "begin a new conversation as to how best to slow down this entire reform agenda." Capobianco said, "I believe with organized and persistent communications with lawmakers and educational policymakers, we can make a difference."

Joanne Rentz BACKGROUND: Rentz, 51, has lived in the district six years. Rentz is an advertising sales manager for the Manhattan office of Dwell, a national consumer interior design and architecture magazine. Rentz has a bachelor of science degree in liberal arts from the University of Maryland and also earned credit toward a master's degree in elementary education from Dowling College in Oakdale. She has five children, one currently attending a district public school, and four graduates of the school system. This is her first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Rentz said the most important issue facing the district is "budget control and fiscal planning." Rentz said ongoing curriculum development and efforts to seek restoration of state funding require school board members who "can understand the impact of spending to a budget, maintain sound investment strategy and build consensus within the community." Rentz said her educational and sales and marketing experience allow her to "contribute expertise in building the budget, communicating effectively and promoting greater involvement from our community." She said she would work with fellow school board members to build a "multilevel marketing plan" to promote "sound fiscal policy" to the community.

Michael RiggioBACKGROUND: Riggio, 42, is a retired deputy inspector in the NYPD's counterterrorism division. He has lived in the district for nine years. Riggio has a bachelor's degree in public administration from John Jay College in Manhattan and a master's degree in criminal justice administration from the University at Albany. Riggio has a child who attends district schools. This is his first run for the school board.

ISSUES: Riggio said he has "the qualities, experience and leadership to serve on the Mount Sinai Board of Education." He said, "I understand hard work and commitment, and have a proven track record of getting things done." Riggio said that if elected he would become part of a team "of highly motivated, dedicated and open-minded individuals with the ability to analyze all the options -- even the unpopular ones -- and make the correct decisions for the children and community."

He said he would focus on safety issues, fiscal and budgetary challenges and the "quality of our children's education and the standards by which they and their teachers will be judged."

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