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Remsenburg-Speonk school district


9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School.


The district proposes a $13,231,448 budget for 2015-16, a 1.27 percent increase from the current $13,066,160. The local tax levy would rise 1.63 percent, from $11,408,632 to $11,594,665. The increase is within the state's tax-cap limit of 3.53 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 1.63 percent, from $5,889.51 to $5,985.61.

The budget does not call for changes in staffing levels or programs, district officials said. It includes a contractual pay increase for teachers of 0.75 percent and step increase of 1.9 percent, officials said.

Two more propositions are on the ballot. The first would authorize a one-year agreement with the Westhampton Beach and Eastport-South Manor school districts to continue educating Remsenburg-Speonk students in grades seven through 12. The second would authorize a $259,925 agreement with the Suffolk Cooperative Library System for access to library services for one year.

District website:


Jennifer Pratt Ashley, Joshua Berger, Heather B. Carriero, Scott Heptig and Kevin Toolan are first-time candidates running for seats being vacated by two outgoing school board members, Kevin Federico and Cecilia Spellman-Frey. Terms are three years.

Jennifer Pratt AshleyBACKGROUND: Ashley, 49, is a project manager at an interior design firm who has been a Remsenburg homeowner for nine years and lived in the community full time for four years. She has one daughter, a first-grader in the district, and is vice president of the Remsenburg-Speonk Parent Teacher Organization. She previously worked for 10 years in sales and marketing at UBS Wealth Management in New York City.

ISSUES: Ashley, whose parents are retirees in the district, said she wants to represent both parents of schoolchildren and taxpayers. She said she wants to maintain the "excellent quality of education" in the small district and draw on her experience in business. "I'm a detail-oriented, logical thinker," she said. "I want to help in any way I can."

Joshua Berger

BACKGROUND: Berger, 43, is a stay-at-home father of two children -- a kindergartner and a first-grader -- in the district. He has lived in Remsenburg for two years and is a board member of the Remsenburg Association, the Speonk Remsenburg Civic Association and the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School Site-Based Planning Committee.

ISSUES: Berger could not be reached by phone, but in a questionnaire from Newsday he said he would "explore options to better demonstrate the pros and cons of Common Core and testing."

Heather B. CarrieroBACKGROUND: Carriero, 41, has lived in Remsenburg for 10 years and has two children, a kindergartner and a third-grader. She has been a third-grade teacher in the William Floyd school district for 13 years and is a member of the Remsenburg Association and the Westhampton Yacht Squadron. She said her family has organized a drive for the past four years to send items to members of the Air National Guard's 106th Rescue Wing.

ISSUES: Carriero said she wants to reach out to community members who don't necessarily have children in the school and involve them in school activities. She said her goal is to make the school a "community hub." Carriero said she wants to tap her teaching experience to enhance the district. "I felt like having the educational background would be useful for the board, because I have insights from my own district, which is a rather large district compared to Remsenburg," she said.

Scott Heptig

BACKGROUND: Heptig, 40, has lived in Remsenburg for six years and has two children who have yet to enter kindergarten. He has been a physical education teacher for grades seven through 12 at the Eastport South Manor school district for 17 years. He has coached a number of sports, including baseball, basketball and soccer and currently coaches golf.

ISSUES: Heptig said he likes how the district is run and wants to be "part of the team." He said he wants to add his educational and leadership experience, honed during years of coaching, to the board. Heptig said his goal is to help keep up the district's high-performing reputation. "From the outside, it looks like they're doing a great job," he said. "I just want to keep the ball rolling there in a positive direction."

Kevin Toolan

BACKGROUND: Toolan, 35, has lived in Remsenburg for six years and has two young sons, one of whom is set to enter kindergarten later this year. He has taught elementary school at the Patchogue-Medford school district for 13 years and currently teaches fifth grade. He is a former trustee on the Patchogue Village Community Development Agency.

ISSUES: Toolan said he's proud of the district and wants to get more involved by serving on the school board. "There are really no negative issues in my mind," he said. "I feel the school is running well. I wanted to be a stakeholder in the community and share my knowledge of elementary school with our district."


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