Across the Town of Huntington, voters went to polls May 15 and gave their stamp of approval to their districts’ 2018-19 budgets. Many of the districts are planning to use funds to increase their security measures in schools or make critical infrastructure and building repairs.
Yet, threat of hazardous weather and early evening storms made for a light voter turnout, with fewer ballots being cast than in previous years. This disappointed some board of education members, who rely on their taxpayers’ votes as a critical measure of community feedback.
Huntington’s taxpayers passed Huntington Public School’s $129,812,991 budget for the 2018-19 school year by 1,215 votes to 314 votes, or approximately 80 percent approval. The adopted spending plan has a budget-to-budget increase of 2.85 percent, or approximately $3.6 million more than the current year.
“I’m very thankful, obviously very pleased, but very thankful that the community continues to support our budget and additional propositions,” Huntington Superintendent James Polansky said. “It really makes a difference in the lives and education of our kids.”
Huntington 2018 budget results
$129.8M budget: 1,1215 Yes votes to 314 No votes
Proposition 2: 1,293 Yes votes to 209 No votes
Proposition 3: 1,260 Yes votes to 238 No votes
Board of Education Candidates
Christine Biernacki 1,029 Votes
Thomas DiGiacomo 897 votes
Lynda Tine-D’Anna 816 votes
Michele Deegan 686 votes
Alvin White 566 votes
Polansky said the district’s spending plan has set aside funds to continue to increase and expand its education programs. Huntington High School will have a computer science course added as well as a virtual enterprise course — a new business elective which simulates an entrepreneurial business for students to run.
The average Huntington homeowner will see their annual school taxes increase by an estimated $213.69, or approximately $17.81 a month. This is based on the average home having an assessed value of $3,430, in which an assessed value is a dollar value placed on the property by the Town of Huntington solely for the purposes of calculating taxes based on comparable home sales and other factors.
District residents approved Proposition 2 by 1,293 to 209 votes. The measure will allow Huntington school officials to withdraw about $7 million from the district’s capital reserves fund for critical infrastructure repairs. The list of projects includes the replacement of the roofs at three elementary schools, Flower Hill, Jefferson and Southdown at $1.5 million each; tile replacement in 17 bathrooms at Jefferson and Nathaniel Woodhull School; security vestibules at Flower Hill and Washington primary schools; and replacing two of Woodhull’s boilers.
Voters also cast their ballots in favor of Proposition 3, which passed 1,260 votes to 238 votes.
The district can move forward to create a new building improvement fund. The superintendent said the fund is necessary in order to transfer money from the district’s existing repair reserve, which can primarily be used in emergencies, to a newly named capital reserve that will be used for turf field replacement.
Huntington board of education
Huntington school district residents decided to choose experienced representatives rather than seeking new voices as they selected between five candidates running for three open seats on their board of education.
Incumbent Christine Biernacki, receiving 1,029 votes, and Thomas DiGiacomo, receiving 897 votes, were both re-elected to serve another term. Newcomer Lynda Tine-D`Anna received 816 votes and will take the seat of trustee Emily Rogan, who did not run for re-election. Challengers Michele Deegan received 686 votes, followed by Alvin White who received 566 votes.
“I want to thank voters so much for their support,” Tine-D’Anna said. “I’m so excited to have this opportunity to work for them, to work for all the children and to work together with this great administration and the teachers we have.”
Tine-D’Anna has lived in Huntington Village for 21 years and is a world language teacher in the Syosset school district. She has served on many leadership committees including the high school steering committee for the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence application process, chair of the district’s Middle State Accreditation Evaluation Committee and as a founding member of the high school’s professional development program.
The newly elected trustee has also served as Huntington school district’s Special Education PTA board member and volunteer.
She lives with her husband, Nick, and four children, who attend the district, including a high school senior and sophomore; a J. Taylor Finley Middle School eighth-grader and a sixth-grader at Woodhull Intermediate School.
Tine-D’Anna was immediately congratulated on her win by Rogan, White and several candidates and school administrators on Tuesday night.
“We had five outstanding candidates running for board of education, and to be honest, I would be happy to work with any of them,” the superintendent said.