Education

Huntington High School. File photo

By Jane Lee Bock

Huntington schools have taken a big step toward ensuring that local taxpayers continue to see some money back in state rebates this year.

School districts have formed a consortium to help reign in expenses, implementing one more of the mandatory steps needed to comply with the regulations of the three-year state property tax freeze credit.

The credit is a new tax relief program that reimburses qualifying homeowners for increases in local property taxes on their primary homes, according to the program’s website. The credit applies to school districts in 2014 and 2015 and to most other municipalities in 2015 and 2016.

Cold Spring Harbor school district has been designated the lead agency for the consortium and is partnering with Western Suffolk BOCES to coordinate the plans and submit them to the state by June 1, 2015. In total so far, 19 districts are eligible to participate in this joint effort. Northport, Huntington, Harborfields and Cold Spring Harbor have officially joined the consortium.

William Bernhard, interim assistant superintendent for business at Cold Spring Harbor. File photo by Karen Spehler
William Bernhard, interim assistant superintendent for business at Cold Spring Harbor. File photo by Karen Spehler

In 2014, New York property owners received a rebate if their school district stayed within the state’s 2-percent property tax cap when developing its budget. In 2015, property owners will get a rebate if the districts demonstrate that they have plans that will develop efficiencies and cost savings, and their local municipal taxing districts stay within the tax cap. In 2016, the rebate requirements will be aimed at only municipalities, requiring them to stay within the tax cap and develop cost savings.

The state estimates this three-year program will result in $1.5 billion in taxpayer savings. This consortium meets the requirements of the government efficiency plan component of the property tax freeze credit.

No specific savings have been announced yet because the plans have to be submitted and approved by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and any savings created by efficiencies implemented before 2012, when the freeze was initially created, are allowed to be included in each district’s component of the plan.

“What they have allowed us to do is that if we had some prior efficiencies that were instituted prior to June 2012, which is the first year of the tax cap, we can use that towards demonstrating our savings,” William Bernhard, interim assistant business superintendent of the Cold Spring Harbor school district said in a phone interview. “Many districts had to do that to stay within the tax cap.”

In addition, by grouping the districts together, they will be required to save one percent of their tax levy combined, instead of individually, he said. Those savings must be realized through the 2016-17 school years.
Bernhard said he hasn’t seen the full plan yet because the information has not been submitted.

Visit www.tax.ny.gov/pit/property/property_tax_freeze.htm for more information on the property tax freeze credit program.

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Billy Joel accepts his honorary degree at Friday’s graduation ceremony. Photo from Lauren Sheprow

Stony Brook University marked its 55th commencement ceremony Friday and doled out degrees to 6,298 students, joining more than 155,000 of the school’s forerunners around the globe.

The school also honored Long Island leaders Billy Joel and Charles B. Wang, who received an honorary doctor of music and doctor of humane letters, respectively.

State University of New York Trustee Cary Staller conferred the honorary degree to Joel, and in his acceptance speech, Joel told students to never compromise their ideals.

“I hope that by now you have found what it is you love and I hope that you have learned the skills you need to make what you love your life’s work,” he said. “I wish for you the stamina to continue that work when you encounter resistance and tough times … if you’re not doing what you love, you’re just wasting your time.”

Wang, during his acceptance speech, stated his beliefs in four points, “One — you can make a difference; two — integrity and loyalty are only words until tested; three — love life to the fullest; and four — have fun.” He also described his inspiration to create the Charles B. Wang Center, an Asian and Asian-American cultural hub at the university.

David Stein is joyous after winning a contest for Northport-East Northport school board. Photo by Rohma Abbas

By Rohma Abbas & Victoria Espinoza

Voters in the Huntington, Northport-East Northport, Harborfields and Cold Spring Harbor school districts resoundingly approved their districts’ proposed 2015-16 budgets and elected a number of newcomers to local school boards.

Both Harborfields and Northport-East Northport school board races had contests this year — in Harborfields, five candidates vied for three seats, and in Northport-East Northport, a pool of seven were competing for three slots.

Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor had races in which trustees ran unopposed.

Huntington
Voters in the Huntington school district approved a $120.3 million budget, 1,228 votes to 301. Proposition 2, which allows the district to spend just over $1 million in capital reserve monies to pay for state-approved projects, passed 1,252 votes to 251.

Four people ran unopposed for re-election or election: board President Emily Rogan received 1,193 votes, board members Xavier Palacios and Tom DiGiacomo collected 1,139 votes and 1,185 votes, respectively, and newcomer Christine Biernacki garnered 1,189 votes. Rogan, Biernacki and DiGiacomo won three-year terms.

As the lowest vote getter, Palacios will serve the remaining two years on a term of former Vice President Adam Spector’s vacated seat.

“We will maintain our efforts toward achieving cost savings and efficiencies, while preserving the goal of providing students across the district with a high quality education that promotes an affinity for learning as well as college and career readiness in an increasingly global and technologically-driven society,” Superintendent Jim Polansky said in a statement.

Tammie Topel is joyous after winning a contest for Northport-East Northport school board. Photo by Rohma Abbas
Tammie Topel is joyous after winning a contest for Northport-East Northport school board. Photo by Rohma Abbas

Northport-East Northport
In Northport-East Northport, the $159.6 million budget was approved, 3,281 to 788, in a turnout that school officials there called stronger than usual. Proposition 2, which allows the district to spend $1.2 million in capital reserves, was approved 3,561 to 504. Longtime Trustee Stephen Waldenburg Jr., who has served on the board for 15 years, was voted out in a heated race against six others for three seats, amassing 1,290 votes. Incumbent David Badanes, 2,446 votes, was re-elected to another term. Candidate Tammie Topel, former school board member, got her seat back after declining to seek re-election last year, with 2,130 votes and newcomer David Stein, who championed a successful grassroots parental movement to get full-day kindergarten included in this year’s budget, enjoyed victory to the board, with 2,548 votes.

Newcomers Peter Mainetti, Josh Muno and Michael Brunone missed the mark as well, with Mainetti garnering 1,018 votes, Muno receiving 542 votes and Brunone getting 1,039 votes.

Stein said he’s looking forward to working with his colleagues on the school board as his first order of business.

“I feel that the will of this entire community, that did great things this year, was just heard. This is what we’ve been working for. The community put kindergarten together; they did it as a community effort.”

Waldenburg said he “would’ve liked to won,” but the community has spoken.

“I’ve given it my all for 15 years and I’m grateful that I was able to serve that long,” Waldenburg said. “I appreciate it. The community wants somebody else; that’s their choice.”

Newly elected Trustee Tammie Topel and incumbent David Badanes also spoke positively about their victories.

“I feel on cloud nine. I feel really great,” Topel said.

The United Teachers of Northport, the district’s teacher’s union, endorsed the three candidates who won, according to Antoinette Blanck, the president of the union. She said she was “thrilled” the budget passed, especially because of full-day kindergarten.

Harborfields
Voters in Harborfields approved their budget with high marks — 82.5 percent voter support for an $80.5 million spending plan, with 1,442 voting in favor and 305 voting no. Voters also supported a proposition on the ballot to establish a new capital reserve fund, with 79.4 percent in favor.

Incumbents Donald Mastroianni and board President Dr. Thomas McDonagh were returned to the board, and voters elected newcomer Suzie Lustig. Mastroianni earned the most votes, at 1,017, McDonagh earned 958 votes and Lustig got 953 votes.

Candidates Chris Kelly and Colleen Rappa fell short.

Mastroianni and McDonagh are both incumbents; serving their ninth and seventh year, respectively. Lustig, a resident of the Harborfields district for 22 years, will be serving on the board for her first time.

Lustig said she wants to focus her time on making sure all students at Harborfields receive a well-rounded education that is competitive for the 21st century.

“Our school has to be of a holistic level, some children may be gifted in science or they may be gifted in music, and we need to make sure we represent everybody for a competitive environment,” Lustig said.

Lustig has served as the Harborfields Council of PTAs “Get Out the Vote” chairperson for three years now, and has served on the district’s advisory committee since 2013, as well as holding many different PTA positions since 2007.

Mastroianni, who has served on the board since 2006, believes that the biggest challenges Harborfields faces as a district are state-imposed, including the gap elimination adjustment on school district aid, a deduction from each school district’s state aid allocation that helps the state fill its revenue shortfall.

Mastroianni also hopes to focus on current district committee work regarding building usage and full-day kindergarten.

“I think full-day kindergarten is definitely possible, but we have to take a hard look at the costs and the sustainability,” Mastroianni said.

McDonagh wants to focus on many of the projects that have just begun this year, including the capital improvement bond project, and evaluating the need for facility modifications over the next few years.

“The projects being considered include both athletic facilities and educational facilities, as well as just general district facility needs like bathrooms and other facilities,” McDonagh said.

Cold Spring Harbor
In Cold Spring Harbor, voters approved a $64 million budget, 335 votes to 130. Proposition 2, which moved to spend capital reserve money on various projects, passed 318 to 107. Proposition 3, to establish a new capital reserve fund, was approved 314 to 114. Board President Anthony Paolano and Trustee Ingrid Wright ran unopposed for re-election and received 366 and 359 votes, respectively.

Keith Frank, left with school board president, Mike Unger, right, finds out he won a seat on the Miller Place school board. Photo by Erika Karp

Miller Place residents came out in support of the district’s proposed nearly $70 million budget on Tuesday with 79 percent of voters casting a “yes” ballot.

The approved budget, which stays within the district’s tax levy increase cap of 2.85 percent, maintains programs and adds a few new instructional programs, support services and extracurricular activities. Out of the 1,226 ballot papers lodged, 964 were in the affirmative.

In addition, residents approved a proposition for library services and elected Keith Frank, 50, as their new school board trustee.

“I think that almost 80 percent is certainly a record in the district for the budget and in a light voter turnout, it means even more,” school board president, Mike Unger, said.

Frank, an attorney and father of three kids, waited anxiously for the results to be announced on Tuesday evening. He received 781 votes, while opponent Mike Manspeizer, 55, fell short with 287 votes. After finding out he won, Frank smiled and was congratulated by other board members. He said it felt great to be elected.

“I just want to thank everyone for coming out and voting,” Frank said. “I’m just looking forward to the next three years.”

The newcomer will take Unger’s seat as the board president did not seek re-election for a third term. In an email, Unger said he feels the board is in great shape and it’s a good time to hand things off. Frank will assume his school board role on July 1.

“I am pleased with Keith Frank as the new trustee,” Unger said. “Both candidates had valuable experience to offer. Keith will be a great addition who will work very well with the existing board, the administration and the community.”

Manspeizer said he will continue to serve and be involved in the community.

“I am disappointed in the outcome, but I have a great deal of respect for Keith and I know he’ll do a great job,” he said.

Miller Place Superintendent Marianne Higuera said she was pleased the budget passed.

“We’re very appreciative of the community’s support of our programs and staff, and we look forward to another successful year,” she said.

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Charlie Leo lost his re-election bid in Kings Park. File photo by Erika Karp

By Phil Corso & Barbara Donlon

Residents gave a thumbs up to school budgets throughout Smithtown and its neighboring districts, including Commack, Hauppauge and Kings Park.

Smithtown’s $229.5 million budget passed, 2,582 to 762. School board President Christopher Alcure, who ran unopposed, was re-elected with 2,395 votes, while newcomer Jeremy Thode was elected with 2,144 votes.

The board largely assembled together in the district clerk’s office Tuesday night as the results came in before eventually filling the board room around 10 p.m. for the final reading of the numbers.

“I am very thankful that the budget passed, it clearly was a fiscally responsible budget that supports our school district and mission,” said Thode, who was not present when the board read the results aloud Tuesday night. “I am also humbled by the overwhelming personal support of the community in my election. I would like to thank everyone for their belief in me and look forward to helping all the students and families in Smithtown.”

MaryRose Rafferty lost her bid, garnering 862 votes, but said she looked forward to working with the board on the other side of the microphone nevertheless.

“I’m not going away, I will still be the voice of the people for the people,” she said.

A second proposition on the Smithtown ballot, related to capital reserves, passed 2,507 to 715.

Community members passed Commack’s $185.1 million budget 1,927 to 575.

In Hauppauge, voters passed the district’s proposed $105.4 million budget, 1,458 to 442. Michael Buscarino and Stacey Weisberg were elected to the board with 1,098 and 1,122 votes, respectively. Candidate Susan Hodosky fell short, with 984.

Kings Park voters came out to support the district’s $84.7 million budget as well on Tuesday.

The community voted in favor of the budget 2,065 to 577. There was also voting on two propositions, regarding bus purchases and a capital project to replace the high school roof. Both passed, 1,998 to 542 and 2,087 to 455, respectively.

Voters ousted Vice President Charlie Leo (1,108 votes) and voted in incumbent Diane Nally (1,821) and newcomer Kevin Johnston (1,886) for the two open seats on the district’s board of education.

“The community spoke and I am fine with that,” Leo said.

The district’s budget included a 2 percent tax levy increase while keeping its current curriculum, extra curricular activities and adding a wish list of items that included an additional social worker, new musical instruments and class size reductions.

“It was uncomfortable at best because of my long association with Charlie Leo and Diane Nally but it was the right time to run for a seat on the Kings Park Board of Education,” Johnston said. “My goals are to provide the best education for students at Kings Park while being financially responsible to the taxpayers.”

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Budget approved with nearly 77 percent of the vote

By Jenni Culkin

The Rocky Point Union Free School District’s proposed $78.78 million 2015-16 school year budget was approved Tuesday with great support.

The spending plan, which increased by 2.46 percent from the current year, passed with 788 votes compared to 237 votes against.

The budget maintains just about all programs and activities. However, as the district was faced with a large increase in special education costs, administrators moved to decrease the district’s Striving for Higher Achievement at Rocky Point, known as SHARP, at the elementary level. While the after-school component of the program is eliminated, summer SHARP will continue and after-school extra help will still be offered.

Residents also re-elected incumbent school board Vice President Scott Reh to the board, while Ed Casswell was elected and will fill Trustee John Lessler’s seat. Lessler did not seek re-election. Reh received 670 votes and Casswell received 588. Unsuccessfully, Donna McCauley garnered 452 votes.

More than 40 people waited patiently for the election and budget results in the Rocky Point High School Auditorium on Tuesday evening.

Reh, the 48-year-old athletic director for Mount Sinai schools, has served on the board for five years. He said he will “advocate for transparency” and “try to give every student the opportunity to succeed” during his next term on the board.

“My plans are to continue working with the current board,” Reh said.

In a phone interview Wednesday morning, Casswell, 50, said he was excited to be part of the team. The Center Moriches High School principal said he will draw his attention to a capital improvements bond referendum the board is considering moving forward.

Some residents have voiced concerns over social media that the election of both candidates — who were endorsed by the district’s teachers union — creates a singular point of view on the school board, as all the trustees come from education backgrounds or deal with educators.

In a phone interview, McCauley, who ran last year as well, expressed a similar concern. She said she plans on asking the board to reconsider its candidacy requirements and enact stricter requirements for public entities endorsing candidates.

“I have nothing against [the teacher union], but it creates an unfair advantage,” she said.

While this is her last time running, she vowed to stick around.

“I will continue to be involved in any way that I am able,” she said.

But Casswell said that as a trustee he is a parent first and believes everyone is looking out for the kids.

“We’re working for the betterment of our children,” Casswell said. “Under that premise, I don’t’ think I have any concerns about excluding any groups of individuals.”

Erika Karp contributed reporting.

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Mike Riggio, center, speaks to his new fellow school board trustees following Tuesday’s election. Photo by Erika Karp

Full-day kindergarten is officially coming to the Mount Sinai Union Free School District, as residents approved a $56.7 million budget for the 2015-16 school year.

Under the spending plan, the district will expand its current half-day kindergarten program to full — a move backed by many parents as well as the teachers’ union. The budget also maintains class sizes, offerings and extracurricular activities, and brings the Columbia University’s Teachers College Writing Project — which provides writing curriculum and professional development for teachers — to grades kindergarten through fifth.

The budget passed with 1,241 yes votes to 316 votes against.

Superintendent Gordon Brosdal, who joined the district last summer, called the support “outstanding,” and expressed satisfaction that Mount Sinai would no longer be one of the few districts on Long Island left without full day kindergarten.

“To have that margin means to me the community supported the budget,” he said on Tuesday after the vote.
A resident with an average assessed home value of $3,500 will see an annual tax increase of $156.

Throughout the past few months, school board trustees and officials have urged residents to show up and vote. The district has had a relatively low voter turnout over the years, and Brosdal previously stated that elected officials do take notice. Compared to last year, 40 more residents cast a ballot in the budget vote.

“I think, to a degree, voters did hear our plea and came out,” Trustee Ed Law said.

The budget wasn’t the only item residents voted on. They also approved a proposition for library services at either the Comsewogue Public Library or Port Jefferson Free Library, and re-elected incumbent board trustee, Lynn Capobianco, to a second term, and newcomer Mike Riggio with 678 votes and 993 votes, respectively.

Candidates John DeBlasio and Joanne Rentz missed election.

Despite his loss on Tuesday, DeBlasio, a 54-year-old attorney, said he was happy the budget passed. Rentz, a 51-year-old brand manager, was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday. In a Facebook post Tuesday night, she thanked her supporters and said she hopes for great things in Mount Sinai.

Riggio, a 42-year-old retired New York City Police Department commander in the department’s counterterrorism unit, touted his security background and budgeting experience during his campaign. He said on Tuesday evening that he wanted to thank everyone who voted and that win or lose, the experience was “cool.”

“I think people like how I was honest,” he said.

Capobianco, a 65-year-old retired Mount Sinai school librarian, said she was grateful for the community’s support and excitement about full-kindergarten, now a reality.

“I am thrilled that our program is now a full k-12 program,” she said. “… It has been a long time coming.

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Port Jefferson, Comsewogue budgets pass

Vincent Ruggiero goes in for a handshake after being re-elected to the Port Jefferson school board. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Two write-in candidates will become Port Jefferson school board members in July, after Tuesday night’s trustee election and budget vote ended a month of uncertainty about the future of the board.

Three seats were up for election this week but only one candidate, incumbent Vincent Ruggiero, turned in paperwork to appear on the ballot by an April 20 deadline — Trustee Mark Doyle and Vice President Jim Laffey did not, nor did any other district residents. But in the face of a deficit of candidates, Doyle announced a write-in campaign for re-election, and newcomer Tracy Zamek one for first-time election.

Tuesday night, Ruggiero was returned to the board with 468 votes, and Doyle with 178 write-in votes. Zamek was elected with 246 votes.

In an interview after hearing the poll results, Zamek said she is “honored to be a voice for our children here in Port Jefferson and my plans are to really work collectively with this team to provide the best educational experience for our students in Port Jefferson.”

Doyle said he is looking forward to his third term on the school board.

“I wanted to stay on the board and I’m happy to serve another three years.”

While Ruggiero expressed excitement about working with Doyle and Zamek in the next school year, he said he would miss having Laffey on the board of education.

“He was tremendous — a hard worker, dedicated parent and member of this community.”

School board member Mark Doyle is all smiles after being re-elected by write-in votes on Tuesday night. Photo by Desirée Keegan
School board member Mark Doyle is all smiles after being re-elected by write-in votes on Tuesday night. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Aside from the two winning write-in candidates, there were other write-in candidates who received a minimal number of votes and thus fell shy of securing Port Jefferson school board seats. The largest of that write-in group was former board member Dennis Kahn, who garnered 58 votes.

Also on Tuesday night, Port Jefferson voters approved a $42.4 million budget for next year, with 491 votes in favor to 130 against. A second ballot proposition, to create a new capital reserve fund that would help fund roof replacements throughout the district, also passed, with 467 votes in favor and 122 against.

“We’re extremely pleased with the results of the vote,” Port Jefferson Superintendent Ken Bossert said. “We’re very happy to see such an overwhelming level of support from the community.”

Over in the Comsewogue School District, voters approved an $85.2 million budget, with 1,024 votes in support and 204 votes against. That district’s second proposition, to expand bus service to include 38 more John F. Kennedy Middle School students, also passed, with 1,096 votes to 134.

Three candidates ran unopposed for the Comsewogue Board of Education: board President John Swenning was re-elected with 1,058 votes; Trustee Rick Rennard was re-elected with 1,010 votes; and newcomer Louise Melious was elected with 978 votes.

Desirée Keegan contributed reporting.

Deanna Bavlnka and William Connors celebrate after the elections Tuesday night. Photo by Andrea Moore Paldy

Voters approved the Three Village school district budget Tuesday. The $189.5 million budget received 2,401 votes in favor and 723 against.

Residents also re-elected trustees William Connors and Deanna Bavlnka. Board president Connors received 2,200 votes and Bavlnka, 2,052. A third candidate, Jeffrey Mischler, who had hoped to unseat either Bavlnka or Connors, got 1,095 votes.

Connors, a board member since 2012, plans to continue the work the board had started and to “maintain the academic programs and quality that the district has been known for within the fiscal reality.”

Connors was previously on the board from 1994 to 2006.

Mischler, who congratulated the trustees, said early in the evening that it had been a “clean campaign” and that he was pleased that he’d been able to “stick to being green.” He had run his campaign primarily on social media.

Before the results were in, Bavlnka, a trustee since 2011, said she was very optimistic about the budget, which was her priority, because it directly affected the students in the district.

At the 2.79 percent cap on the tax levy increase, next year’s budget restores programs and staff cut in recent years. They include the return of fourth- through sixth-grade elementary health classes, high school American Sign Language, full-time elementary school social workers and increased guidance and counseling at the three secondary schools.

District officials have also said that declining elementary enrollment and retirements will make it possible to balance elementary class sizes and add a STEM teacher to each elementary school to help with science and math enrichment and remediation. At the secondary level, the administration will add 1.2 full-time equivalent English as a second language (ESL) positions to fill a state mandate. Positions will be added to reduce math and English class sizes and to restore electives in technology, social studies, science and math.

Three Village plans to restructure its administration for the 2015-16 school year without additional costs. New positions include a coordinating chair for junior high foreign language and districtwide ESL, a coordinating music chair as well as  assistant directors for pupil personnel services, health and physical education and instructional technology. The 2015-16 budget includes money to restore security, clerical, maintenance and operations staff.

While a $1.65 million increase in state aid played a role in meeting the district’s budget, a $3.6 million decrease in retirement system costs and 5 percent drop in health insurance also helped. Assistant Superintendent for Business Services Jeff Carlson said that Three Village also has benefited from increased revenues from tuition paid by nonresidents attending its special education and Three Village Academy programs. That has netted an additional $1.2 million for the current school year.

The favorable financial situation means that the district will be using less money from its fund balance and reserve accounts to balance the upcoming school year’s budget. It’s the reason the tax levy increase will be higher than the 0.81 percent budget-to-budget increase, Carlson said.

The district will continue to undertake capital improvements covered by the bond residents approved in February 2014. An anticipated $3.39 million from the state’s Smart Schools Bond will go toward facilities for the prekindergarten program, as well as classroom, school safety and security technology, Carlson said. With a state-approved government efficiency plan that shows at least a 1 percent saving to the tax levy and with the budget within the cap, residents will be eligible for a tax freeze credit, he added.

Superintendent Cheryl Pedisich said the 77 percent approval of the budget sends an important message about support from the community and confidence in the school board and district.

Cold Spring Harbor
Voters passed a $64 million budget, 335 votes to 130. Proposition 2, to spend capital reserve money on various projects, passed 318 to 107. Proposition 3, to establish a new capital reserve fund, passed 314 to 114. Board President Anthony Paolano and Trustee Ingrid Wright ran unopposed for re-election and received 366 and 359 votes, respectively.

Commack
Community members passed Commack’s $185 million budget 1,927 to 575.

Comsewogue
The district’s $85.2 million budget passed, 1,024 to 204. Proposition 2, to add bus service for 38 John F. Kennedy Middle School students, passed 1,096 to 134. Three people ran unopposed for board seats and were elected, board President John Swenning, Trustee Rick Rennard and newcomer Louise Melious.

Harborfields
An $80.5 million budget passed with 82.5 percent voter support. Voters also supported a proposition on the ballot to establish a new capital reserve fund, with 79.4 percent in favor. Incumbents Donald Mastroianni and board President Dr. Thomas McDonagh were returned to the board, and voters elected newcomer Suzie Lustig. Candidates Chris Kelly and Colleen Rappa fell short.

Hauppauge
Voters passed the district’s proposed budget, 1,458 to 442. Michael Buscarino and Stacey Weisberg were elected to the board with 1,098 and 1,122 votes, respectively. Candidate Susan Hodosky fell short, with just 984 votes.

Huntington
A $120.3 million budget passed, 1,228 votes to 301. Proposition 2, to spend just over $1 million in capital reserve monies to pay for state-approved projects, passed 1,252 votes to 251. Four people ran unopposed for re-election or election: board President Emily Rogan got 1,193 votes, board members Xavier Palacios and Tom DiGiacomo received 1,139 votes and 1,185 votes, respectively, and newcomer Christine Biernacki garnered 1,189 votes. Rogan, Biernacki and DiGiacomo won three-year terms. As the lowest vote-getter, Palacios will serve the remaining two years on a term of a vacated seat.

Kings Park
Voters passed an $84.7 million budget, 2,065 to 577. A second proposition on the ballot, regarding a school bus purchase, passed 1,998 to 542. A third proposition, regarding a capital project to replace the high school roof, passed 2,087 to 455. Incumbent Diane Nally was re-elected to the board with 1,821 votes, while newcomer Kevin Johnston was elected with 1,886 votes. Incumbent Charlie Leo fell short in his re-election bid, garnering 1,108 votes.

Middle Country
Middle Country’s $236 million budget passed, with 1,863 votes in favor and 579 against. All three school board incumbents — President Karen Lessler and Trustees Jim Macomber and Arlene Barresi — were running unopposed and were re-elected to their seats.

Miller Place
Newcomer Keith Frank won a seat on the school board, edging out candidate Michael Manspeizer, 781 to 287.
“I’m just looking forward to the next three years,” Frank said. “I have big shoes to step into.”
Residents also passed the district’s $70 million budget, with 964 voting in favor and 262 voting against.
Board President Michael Unger said voter turnout was low “as a result of a good budget and good candidates.”

Mount Sinai
Voters approved the $56.7 million budget with 1,241 in favor and 316 against. Newcomer Michael Riggio was elected to the board with 993 votes, followed by incumbent Lynn Capobiano, who garnered 678 for re-election to a second term. John DeBlasio and Joanne Rentz missed election, receiving 624 and 321 votes, respectively.

Northport-East Northport
The $159.6 million budget passed, 3,281 to 788. Proposition 2, to spend $1.2 million in capital reserves, passed 3,561 to 504. Incumbent David Badanes, former trustee Tammie Topel and newcomer David Stein were elected to the board, with 2,446 votes for Badanes, 2,130 for Topel and 2,548 for Stein. Incumbent Stephen Waldenburg Jr. fell short of re-election, with 1,290 votes. Newcomers Peter Mainetti, Josh Muno and Michael Brunone missed the mark as well, with Mainetti garnering 1,018 votes, Muno receiving 542 votes and Brunone getting 1,039 votes.

Port Jefferson
Voters passed a $42.4 million budget, 491 to 130. Proposition 2, to create a new capital reserve fund that would help replace roofs throughout the district, passed with 467 votes in favor and 122 against.
Trustee Vincent Ruggiero was re-elected to the board with 468 votes. Write-in candidates Tracy Zamek, a newcomer, and Trustee Mark Doyle were elected with 246 and 178 votes, respectively. There were a number of other community residents who received write-in votes, including former board member Dennis Kahn, who garnered 58 votes.

Rocky Point
The $78.7 million budget passed with 788 votes in favor and 237 against. Board Vice President Scott Reh was re-elected to a third term, with 679 votes. Newcomer Ed Casswell secured the other available seat with 588 votes. Candidate Donna McCauley missed the mark, with only 452 votes.

Shoreham-Wading River
The school budget passed, 910 to 323. Michael Fucito and Robert Rose were re-elected to the school board, with 902 and 863 votes, respectively.

Smithtown
Smithtown’s $229.5 million budget passed, 2,582 to 762. School board President Christopher Alcure, who ran unopposed, was re-elected with 2,295 votes, while newcomer Jeremy Thode was elected with 2,144 votes. MaryRose Rafferty lost her bid, garnering just 860 votes. A second proposition on the ballot, related to capital reserves, passed 2,507 to 715.

Three Village
Voters passed a $188 million budget, 2,401 to 723. Incumbents William F. Connors, Jr. and Deanna Bavlnka were re-elected, with 2,200 and 2,052 votes, respectively. Challenger Jeffrey Mischler fell short, garnering only 1,095 votes.

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