7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Westhampton Beach High School's large group instruction room.
The district proposes a $54,963,227 budget for 2015-16, a 0.43 percent increase from the current $54,726,662. The local tax levy would rise 3.48 percent, from $27,189,243 to $28,135,429.
This increase is below the state's tax-cap limit of 3.6 percent, so a simple majority vote will be required to approve the budget. School taxes on the average single-family home would increase 3.48 percent, from $4,072 to $4,213.70.
The proposed budget includes a contractual raise of 0.75 percent and average step increase of 1.75 percent. It also calls for five new teaching positions -- three English as a New Language (formerly known as English as a Second Language); one special education; as well as one English position, with an eye to reducing class sizes and providing a writing lab at the high school.
"State aid accounts for only 4.3 percent of our overall budgeted revenues," said schools Superintendent Michael R. Radday. "Our district will see a decrease of $101,544 in overall state aid next year."
With three at-large seats open, incumbent Suzanne M. Mensch is running on a team with Joyce L. Donneson and Stacy Rubio. Stephen M. Wisnoski also is a candidate. Two terms are for five years and the candidate with the third-highest vote total gets a two-year term, completing that of the late Gordon Werner. Incumbent Bryan Dean is not seeking re-election.
Suzanne M. Mensch BACKGROUND: Mensch, 40, an attorney, has lived in the district 16 years, serving as school board president since July 2012 and a Girl Scout troop leader since 2009. Her five children all attend district schools. She graduated from Yale University and has a law degree from Cornell Law School.
ISSUES: The main issue is maintaining high academic standards while fulfilling "increasing unfunded mandates," all within the confines of the tax cap, she said. She cited an increase in non-English-speaking students, especially at the elementary level, and the need for more English as a New Language teachers and classes. With new unit contracts in place, which "more accurately reflect the current financial climate," the goal is to avoid cuts and hopefully grow programs both "this coming year and future years."
Joyce L. Donneson BACKGROUND: Donneson, 57, a lifelong resident and graduate of St. Joseph's College, is a self-employed meat distributor for Boar's Head. She formerly served on the school board from 2001 to 2008 and coached girls varsity basketball for around 15 years. Her two nieces attend district schools.
ISSUES: With all unit contracts settled for the near future, there are no major issues, she said, other than "to continue to strive to implement higher-level standards for all grades."
BACKGROUND: Rubio, 47, is an office manager at Rubio Premier Motors and a part-time human resources consultant. The 17-year resident holds a bachelor's and master's in human resource management and labor relations from St. Joseph's College. She holds board-level roles with the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and Westhampton Rotary. Her three children are attending district schools.
ISSUES: Pointing to the strengths of "a top-notch district," she said she would "work to maintain those standards and provide for all students." She said she had "no changes to address at this time."
Stephen M. Wisnoski BACKGROUND: Wisnoski, 60, a 34-year resident, retired after 28 years teaching social studies in the district and 30 years coaching. He holds a bachelor's degree in history and journalism from Tarkio College in Missouri and a master's in liberal studies from Stony Brook University. His grown daughter is a graduate of district schools. Recipient of the Harvard Club of Long Island Distinguished Teacher Award, he's past president of the Westhampton Beach Teachers' Association.
ISSUES: "Increased state regulations tied to the Common Core curriculum" are resulting in "excessive testing and test prep of students," he said. Such a testing environment is "leading to the loss of the love of learning." He said he would like "to advocate for the return of local control of schools to their superintendents and boards of education." That, and request state legislators and state education officials "to re-evaluate this present testing program."