Some Central Islip residents interviewed said they voted to approve the proposed budget, despite a sizable tax increase and a reduction in dozens of teaching positions.
Jill Falcone, 58, a patient account representative, said she voted for the budget in part because officials managed to decrease the budget by 2.5 percent from 2010-2011 while keeping several school programs. The local tax levy would rise by 6.47 percent.
“It’s not going up from last year so I can’t complain,” Falcone said of the budget. But she said she voted to elect new school board members who she hopes will better negotiate labor issues with teachers. “I'm just hoping for a fresh set of people who might look at things differently," she said.
Chastidy Rivera, 25, a data processing supervisor, said she voted for the budget in hopes her 5-year-old son will get the programs and education he needs. "I don't want to lose teachers and programs because he will need them," she said. "I think it's important for kids to have something to look forward to."
Courtney Ridgeway, 22, a Central Islip High graduate and a senior at Pace University, also voted in favor of the budget. hoping to save student activities like the music program she was involved in. "I think programs motivate students and keep them out of trouble and give them solid inspiration," she said.
But Joanne Aramini, 52, voted “no.”
"I don't want taxes to go up," she said. "Everything else is going up but our salaries. I'm sick and tired of paying for things that aren't happening. The schools aren't getting better and the kids aren't getting smarter."
She said she hopes if the budget fails officials will come up with better ways of "cutting fat instead of cutting programs."