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Harborfields

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By Jim Ferchland

Middle Country All-County seniors Thomas Lettich, Peter Puglia and Tom Hussey led their team to its final win of the season at their home alley Jan. 25, sweeping Harborfields 3-0 to finish 10-2.

Lettich, who has the best Mad Dogs average with a 224, finished with a 630 on the afternoon. Bowling a 209, 225 and 196, he said he was not pleased with his results, adding he wasn’t in the right frame of mind.

“I knew what I had to come in and do today, and wanted to be an all star,” he said. “I was in the fifth spot and I needed a 675, and shot a little lower than that. I’m confident that I can probably still get in.”

Middle Country head coach Mike Messana said he knows how bad Lettich wanted to finish in the Top 5 spot. Lettich needed a 240 in his final game to put himself on pace for his average.

“It was the mental game,” Messana said. “He had a number in his head. Once you get that number in your head, it’s over.”

The Mad Dogs, which handily won 1,045-582, 1,013-660 and 1,035-594, received the best scores from junior Noah Axinn, who finished with a 701 — bowling 258, 217 and 226. His average is 214. Like most bowlers, he’s his own biggest critic.

“I felt I did pretty good,” Axinn said. “I could have done better. Overall, it was a pretty nice series.”

Hussey shot above his 192 average on Thursday (201, 163 and 204) rounding himself a 568 on the afternoon. Puglia finished with a 619 (182, 202 and 234). His average is second best behind Lettich at 212.

“I didn’t bowl good the first game,” Puglia said. “Then, I made adjustments … I bowled really good the third game. I wanted to end on a high note.”

Harborfields senior Ashton Madden had the best score for his team with a 482, rolling well above his 144 average with a 185 in game two. Michael Fellmeth, who has the highest average for Harborfields (161), finished at 460. He bowled at his best, a 163, in game one.

The Mad Dogs lost two matches all season, to Smithtown East and Northport. Messana said the most important part of the season is upon his team with the upcoming county tournament.

Middle Country is scheduled to bowl in the division finals Jan. 30 at Bowl Long Island in Patchogue at 3:30 p.m. The county tournament is Feb. 3 in Sayville at 9 a.m.

“The whole season really from the first practice in November to our last match today is just preparation for countys,” he said. “It just matters that you make the county tournament. If you make it, you have a shot to win. If you don’t make it, you’re out.”

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Madison Brady keeps a Deer Park opponent at a distance as she moves the ball up the court. Photo by Bill Landon

By Bill Landon

Erin Tucker and Hallie Simkins combined for three points from the free-throw line in the final seconds of Harborifelds’ girls basketball team’s 39-37 edging of Deer Park at the Northport invitational shootout Dec. 30, helping to cap off 2017 on a 6-0 undefeated streak in League V.

Hallie Simkins muscles her way to the rim with a Deer Park opponent at her hip reaching for the block. Photo by Bill Landon

The Tornadoes haven’t missed a beat despite losing all five starters to graduation last year.

“This is a completely new team,” Harborfields head coach Glenn Lavey said. “And that was a good win for them.”

Early in the game points were hard to come by for both teams, as Deer Park took a 7-6 lead into the second stanza, which is where the Falcons’ 3-point game came alive. Three consecutive trifectas were scored before Harborfields could answer, giving Deer Park an 8-point lead, 16-8, with three minutes left in the first half.

Harborfields junior Celia Argiriou launched a long distance shot to net her first 3-pointer of the game to close the gap to 16-13, but the Falcons outscored the Tornadoes 17-11 in the quarter to take a 24-17 advantage into the locker room.

“At halftime, our coach just told us 7 points is nothing — we’ve just got to keep chipping away at it, we’ve got to play harder than them,” Tucker said. “That’s what went through everyone’s mind — do it for the team, and eventually, it will move in our direction. We played a zone coverage we literally put in three weeks ago, and we caused some turnovers that we were able to turn into points.”

With three minutes left in regulation, the forward battled in the paint and scored to make it a 1-point game. One the next possession, Simkins took matters into her own hands and banked two points of her own to give the Tornadoes their first lead since the first quarter with 2:28 left.

Erin Tucker shoots uncontested. Photo by Bill Landon

“I just kept thinking, ‘We have the effort, we have the drive, but we just kept fighting and pushing them by doing what we know how,” said Simkins, who finished the third quarter with two consecutive buckets that cut the deficit to 31-26. “[We won because of] our mental toughness — we all really stayed headstrong on the court and we never gave in.”

With 12.6 seconds on the clock, Tucker went to the line shooting two and banked both of her free-throw shots to edge ahead by three. After a Falcons score, the Tornadoes kept their cool, and Simkins split the difference during her team’s final showing at the charity stripe to seal the deal.

Tucker and Simkins topped the scoring sheet with 11 points apiece. Freshman forward Madison Brady, who banked seven, said Lavey’s encouragement at halftime resonated with her and her teammates, who know the program’s positive playoff position its in year after year.

“Coach said we can come back, and we all agreed that we’re better than that first half, and we could come back,” Brady said. “We just have to battle it out every game the whole season to win our league, and hopefully make a run at a county championship.”

Harborfields looks to continue its positive trajectory in 2018 when it hosts Hauppauge Jan. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

By Bill Landon

Harborfields settled the score Saturday as the Tornadoes invaded Rocky Point and avenged last year’s homecoming loss by outscoring the Eagles 20-13 during a homecoming celebration of their own. Rocky Point senior Petey LaSalla bulled his way up the field for two touchdowns to help tie Harborfields with eight minutes left in the game, but a Tornadoes touchdown and stop sealed the Eagles’ fate Sept. 16.

“The juniors on last year’s team remember that loss,” Harborfields head coach Rocco Colucci said. “I mean, hats off to Rocky Point, they’re a great football team and with good teams it usually does go down to the last minute, but what better way than to [come here] and return the favor at their homecoming game.”

Harborfields dominated the time of possession in the opening half, but the Eagles’ defense held the team to just one touchdown after senior quarterback P.J. Clementi found a hole into the end zone at the 10:58 mark of the second quarter. With a failed point-after attempt, the team took a 6-0 lead into the break.

“Our defense [played well] in the first half to hold them to just six points when they had possession like 90 percent of the time,” LaSalla said. “We lost a close one last week and this obviously sucks going 0-2, but we have power points [given to teams that face top-ranked opponents] and we have a big game next week at Comsewogue, which is their homecoming, and hopefully we can do to them what Harborfields did to us.”

The Eagles opened the second half by marching the ball down to a fourth-and-one, but Harborfields’ defense plugged the hole and took over on downs. The Tornadoes used the possession to strike with just two minutes left in the quarter. Clementi took another keeper across the goal line, and Harborfields senior Ethan Krauss split the uprights this time to put his team ahead 13-0.

“Our offensive and defensive lines were unreal today — they were making holes, they were clogging holes,” Clementi said. “To have those big guys up front, it’s a blessing, but I knew [Rocky Point was] going to try to get [Petey LaSalla] the ball. because he’s their playmaker.”

The Eagles’ offense opened the final quarter with a new look, putting LaSalla in shotgun formation. The running back plowed up the field until he crossed into the end zone for Rocky Point’s first touchdown of the day. Senior Jack Costa nailed the extra-point kick attempt to pull within six, 13-7. LaSalla scored again, but a missed kick blew Rocky Point’s chance at taking its first lead of the game.

With the score tied 13-13, Clementi hit senior wide receiver Chris Dluginsky bolting down the left sideline 56 yards to Rocky Point’s 22-yard line. Senior running back Jimmy Bifulco finished the job with the final touchdown of the game for the 20-13 win.

“I know they’re a great team, well-coached, but we came out here and we played our best,” Bifulco said. “We’re a family, we stick together the entire way and when it comes down to the last minute, we’ll finish it.”

Harborfields did just that, holding off Rocky Point on its final attempt deep in Harbrofields’ territory with 14 seconds left until the time expired.

“I was sitting on the sideline and and I couldn’t watch,” Clementi said. “I walked back to the track and turned around. I was just waiting for that [last] play to be over.”

Rocky Point head coach Anthony DiLorenzo said he wishes he’d have taken a timeout when a first down was signaled following Rocky Point’s first possession of the second half.

“Unfortunately, at the end of the game, that came back to bite us,” he said. “We came up short on the two-yard line.”

Colucci said he couldn’t be more proud of his players, especially despite not being at full strength.

“This was the ultimate team win,” he said. “Even at halftime people were looking at each other and saying ‘we still got this.’ I have a couple of guys who weren’t feeling well and I told them ‘don’t play for yourself, play for the guy next to you because next time they’re going to do it for you,’ and that’s going to win us some close games.”

By Bill Landon

Shoreham-Wading River was on a hot streak — scoring 27 goals in the first three games of the field hockey season, all of which were shutouts. That spotless streak came to an end with a 3-1 loss to a tough Harborfields team Sept. 12.

“We were very worried and concerned about Shoreham,” Harborfields head coach Lauren Desiderio said. “They were blowouts, and that’s beyond impressive.”

The Tornadoes showed no worry or concern, as midfielder Gianna Bifulco dished the ball off to forward Jenelle Bennardo for the first goal of the game 11 minutes in. Not used to playing on grass, the Wildcats seemed to struggle.

“The ball moves very slowly on grass, and everyone reaches the ball more quickly. but I think we adjusted well in the second half,” Shoreham-Wading River junior Michele Corona said. “We just needed to talk more towards the end and we need to work on that in our next game.”

Opportunity came knocking again for Harborfields, and Sarah DeVito answered for a 2-0 lead with 11:26 left in the half.

“I’m not going to lie, I was really intimidated when we were told what their record was coming in,” DeVito said. “And all day in school, especially in math class, every couple of questions the numbers zero, three and 27 would pop into my head.”

On a penalty shot, Harborfields Sarah Gray put her team out front 3-0.

“We thought we were on the lower end,” said Gray. “But we were excited to get in the game and show them that we’re here to play.”

The Wildcats had no answer by halftime, but with 16:03 left in regulation, Harborfields went a man down, and Shoreham-Wading River looked to capitalize, but squandered the opportunity.

“They have a lot of skilled players and they’re very fast,” Harborfields Desiderio said. “They have skilled players and they did a good job putting pressure on us. I was pleased with our transition.”

Shoreham-Wading River found the box nine minutes later when Corona’s solo shot took the zero off the scoreboard to close the gap, but the team would come no closer.

With the win Harborfields improves to 2-1 and will see action today, Sept. 14 at Greenport-Southholdat 4:30 p.m. Shoreham-Wading River hits the road the same day to face Miller Place at 5:45 p.m.

“We’re so used to playing on a smooth surface we’re a passing team and that’s much more effective on turf,” Shoreham-Wading River head coach Jenna Stevenson said. “It’s our first loss of the season and we’ll look to see where our weaknesses were in this game and improve — get back on a winning streak.”

Northport High School. File photo

Students at Huntington, Northport-East Northport and Harborfields school districts put in strong efforts this year to come out at the top of their classes. The valedictorian and salutatorian of each district answered a few questions to let their community get to know them a little better. The graduates were asked the following: (1) What were you involved with at your high school? (2) What college are you attending and what are you studying? (3) What is your favorite high school memory? (4) What are you most excited for in college?  (5) What will you miss most about your school?

Huntington

Salutatorian: Miranda Nykolyn, 17

1. I was involved with Key Club (secretary), varsity rowing, varsity tennis, Mathletes, and Science National Honor Society (treasurer).  Science research is among my favorite activities.

2. I am attending Stanford University and majoring in mechanical engineering/applied mathematics.

3. My favorite high school memory would have to be winning the New York State Scholastic Rowing Championships in the Women’s Varsity Single.

4. I am most excited to be living on my own, and being responsible for my own actions. College is a great time to grow and find a healthy balance between schoolwork and fun.

5. I will miss most the amazing people in my community and the great programs offered. Huntington High School has many AP classes and a variety of extracurriculars that allow for any interest to be fostered.

Valedictorian: Steve Yeh, 18

1. I was involved with Stocks Analysis Club, Math Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, Chinese Foreign Exchange Club, Quiz Bowl and Science Bowl, piano, tutoring at Huntington Station library and Natural Helpers.

2. I am attending Cornell University next year majoring in math and economics and minoring in physics.

3. I don’t necessarily have one favorite high school memory, but as a whole I loved being around my friends, having meaningful discussions and debates in history and government courses and helping out my classmates with academics and regular daily problems and vice versa; this makes it more of a community rather than just a school.

4. I am most excited about meeting new people who come from diverse backgrounds and also being able to study a variety of courses across a breadth of disciplines while also learning more in-depth about respective content material.

5.   I will miss my friends and teachers the most.  I have learned so much about various subjects, but more importantly, I have learned more about myself.

Northport-East Northport

Salutatorian: Sarah Abodalo, 17

1. I was involved with varsity soccer (captain), named All Conference and All County (2015, 2016) and Newsday Top 50 Players (2015, 2016). I also was All County SCMEA (2014, 2015), NYSCAME for Voice (2016), NYSCAME for horn (2015), marching band, symphonic winds, tour choir (officer), pit orchestra, and Tri-M Music Honor Society.

2. I am attending the Honor’s College at Hofstra University, with majors in English and French language and education.

3. My favorite high school memory was when I toured England and Scotland with our tour choir in the summer 2015.  Performing in some of the most historical places in the world was one of the most gratifying experiences I have had the opportunity to partake in.

4. Next year I will be playing on the Hofstra University women’s soccer team. I am beyond ecstatic and honored to be playing at such a high level with such talented individuals.

5. I will greatly miss being a part of the fantastic music program that Northport provides its students. Choir and band have been a major part of my life and I am sad to have to say goodbye to all the wonderful teachers I have had over the years.

Valedictorian: Cybele Laisney, 18

1. I volunteered at the Atria, provided free tutoring for those in need, and at the Huntington YMCA. I was in French Club (president), Grandfriends (vice-president), National Honor Society, World Language Honor Society, and Technology Honor Society. I also played varsity tennis.

2. I am attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a major in bio-engineering.

3. I will remember meeting with Martha, a resident at the Atria, to sit down and chat every Tuesday. She offered a lot of wisdom and always encouraged me to pursue my dreams. I’ll miss her a lot next year,

4. I’m most excited to be surrounded by new people in the Cambridge/Boston area. I know the people I will be surrounded by will only inspire me to push myself further.

5. I’ll miss the people I’ve met along the way. I’ve gotten to know some truly wonderful people throughout high school, and although it is heartbreaking to be apart from the people I’m close to, I know they will do bigger and better things in college.

Harborfields

Salutatorian: Ishaan Lohia, 17

1. I was involved in the Harborfields Theatre Company, National Honor Society, science research and Mathletes.

2. I will be studying physics at Northeastern University.

3. My favorite memory is senior playfest.

4. I am most excited to study the things that I love at college.

5. I will miss the friends that I have made at Harborfields.

Valedictorian: Casandra Moisanu, 18

1. I was involved in All-County girls varsity soccer, National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society and Mathletes.

2. I’ll be studying environmental science at Cornell University.

3. I’ll remember being a part of the soccer team here at Harborfields High School.

4. I am most excited to learn new things at a higher level.

5. I’m going to miss the family feel that we have here in Harborfields.

Dressed in green and white cap and gowns, Harborfields High School seniors made their way across the high school gymnasium and received their diploma on June 24. The celebration, which traditionally takes place outdoors, was based inside due to inclement weather but did not dampen the spirits of the proud graduates.

Family members, friends, staff, board members and administrators gathered for the momentous occasion which marked the end of an era for retiring Board President Nicholas Giuliano and a first for Harborfields High School Principal Timothy Russo and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Francesco Ianni.

The stands of the high school gymnasium were filled with anticipated guests as the graduates made their entrance to “Pomp and Circumstance” by Sir Edward Elgar, played by the high school band. The ceremony kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance, a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” from the senior members of the high school choir and the Alma Mater.

Russo welcomed those in attendance and Dr. Ianni addressed the graduates. During his speech, he gave special recognition to the board president for his commitment to the board of education for the past 15 years.

“Mr. Giuliano, this is your class,” he said. “The students that you see in front of you were in Washington Drive Primary School when you started and they were the direct recipients of the many decisions that you and the board made during your time at Harborfields. What you have in front of you is one of the best graduating classes that Harborfields has to offer.”

Russo also commended him for his consistent direction and support in the district. He proudly presented him with the first diploma of the ceremony.

Salutatorian Ishaan Lohia addressed his fellow graduates and offered a humorous speech about his high school experience and what he learned over the years, while class president Sean Tully wished his classmates the best of luck in their future endeavors.

In addition, valedictorian Casandra Moisanu spoke to the Class of 2017, reflecting back on their high school years, their outlook for the future and the strong connections made within the graduating class.

“I want everyone to remember that no matter where we end up, we are still an HF Family,” she said. “I know we would all like to see each other succeed and I trust that we will be there for each other in the future.”

Voted on by the graduates, featured speaker and social studies teacher Daniel Greening offered his best wishes, while Russo shared his own praises and encouragement. To leave the students with something to hold onto, Russo gifted each of them with an evergreen tree to help them remember their roots.

Harborfields High School. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

Harborfields Central School District is looking to improve how teachers teach and students learn, with Tech 2.0, an education initiative meant to equip the district with technology-driven learning aids.

As soon as Superintendent Francesco Ianni took over at Harborfields, he said, he started to work with the administration to roll out this plan, which involves students and teachers using Chromebooks, lightweight laptops, with lesson plans.

“The nice thing about this plan is it’s a wonderful opportunity for the entire district,” Ianni said in a phone interview. “We’re not only providing Chromebooks, but a plan for teachers’ curriculum to revamp how we teach and learn here. We want to make sure these are meaningful changes, not just another machine we’re bringing in.”

Currently the district has a certain amount of Chromebooks teachers can sign out in advance for a class lesson. But Tech 2.0 would create a plan where every lesson has possibilities with Chromebooks to enhance the class. Ianni said the initiative is expected to begin in the 2018-19 school year, when every student and teacher in the high school will have a Chromebook, and right now the district is using a pilot program for selected teachers to get a jump-start on learning how to use the technology effectively with their students.

“We don’t know what the future will look like but we want to give the students every opportunity to learn and be prepared,” Ianni said.

Administrators have sat in on several classes involved in the pilot program, and said they have already noticed exciting new ways students are getting involved in lessons.

Jordan Cox, executive director of instructional services, said students have been able to go on virtual field trips, take polls on events and take quizzes attached to the end of a presentation.

“The students have the ability to look at 3-D objects and interact with classmates on Google Docs, which is especially helpful if a student is out sick and needs to work on a group assignment,” Cox said in a phone interview. “This changes the learning landscape.”

He sat in on a class of students learning about World War II and the Holocaust, and the kids were able to take a virtual reality tour of a concentration camp.

Ianni said he observed a lesson recently, in a class learning about applying to college and applying for financial aid. He said the students were able to use Google Earth to go on virtual tours of the campuses of schools they were interested in. He also said this plan will help teachers see what students are understanding in real time. In a math class he sat in on, the students were taking a quiz and the teacher was able to look at the grades right away, instead of taking them home to grade that night. She saw a majority of the class was struggling with a certain question, and she was able to go over it again with the class right then.

Rory Manning, assistant superintendent for administration and human resources, said another benefit of using the Chromebooks comes with the price tag.

“We used to have desktops in certain classrooms, but with these Chromebooks it’s cheaper,” he said in a phone interview. The district is now able to offer more resources than before, he said.

Administration is not the only supporter of Tech 2.0

The Harborfields Alumni and Community Educational Fund, a not-for-profit established to support educational programs in the district, made a $50,000 donation to the initiative, which is going to help purchase more Chromebooks for the classrooms.

In April HACEF hosted a Mardi Gras gala with members of the Greenlawn community, which raised $34,000 in a single night. HACEF then decided to donate $16,000 of its own funds to help bring the total to $50,000.

“It’s amazing the support from the community,” Karin Fey, vice president of HACEF, said in a phone interview. “This is the wave of the future, and we wanted to give something significant to show how important we think this is.”

Harborfields' Grace Zagaja hugs coaches Mary Santonmauro and Kerri McGinty following the win. Photo by Desirée Keegan

By Desirée Keegan

For the first time in four years, the Tornadoes are touching down on semifinal turf.

With a 14-7 win over Comsewogue May 23, the No. 4 Harborfields girls’ lacrosse team advances to take on No. 1 Eastport-South Manor May 25 at 4 p.m.

Harborfields’ Falyn Dwyer shoots. Photo by Desirée Keegan

“The whole season we’ve had a team first mentality,” senior Falyn Dwyer said. “We win as a team, we lose as a team. We knew it was a do or die situation, so we really picked up the intensity.”

That passion showed. In the first 10 minutes, Harborfields was already up 4-0. At the 13:41 mark, Dwyer scored her hat trick goal. Senior Katherine Alnwick followed her up with back-to-back goals less than a minute apart, and soon the Tornadoes were ahead 7-0.

“Last time we faced them we had a lot of trouble scoring, so we worked on a lot of offenses to capitalize on finding the open girl,” Dwyer said. “A lot of the time [my teammates] clear out for me if I have the ball and they know I have a lane. They do a good job of letting me use my speed. We moved the ball a lot better than we have in the past and we put our plays in well.”

Comsewogue junior Hannah Dorney found the back of the net with 9:13 left in the first half to put the Warriors on the board, freshman Olivia Fantigrossi set up eighth-grader Ava Fernandes off a free position and Dorney scored again off an assist from senior Julia Tuohy to cut the lead to 8-3 at the end of the first half.

Comsewogue’s Hannah Dorney moves the ball across the field. Photo by Desirée Keegan

The successive goal scoring seemed to work well for the Tornadoes, and sophomore Hallie Simkins kept it going with back-to-back goals to open the second half.

“Coming off the draw strong really helps us get the momentum going, and getting a few goals boosted our confidence,” she said. “It’s great that we even got here, so the fact that I got to put a few goals in the back of the net just makes it an even more amazing feeling.”

Harborfields head coach Kerri McGinty also thought her team was resilient from start to finish.

“We had a mind-set when we stepped out on the field today and it carried through,” she said. “We took smart shots, we finished, we had some huge defensive stops that led to goals — so it was that culmination of everything happening together. All of the girls were playing for each other. That’s the best thing you can ask for a team.”

Harborfields’ Hallie Simkins crashes into Comsewogue’s Hannah Dorney as she carries the ball into the Warriors’ zone. Photo by Desirée Keegan

Senior Grace Zagaja’s turnover led to her second goal of the game, and junior goalkeeper Erin Tucker made half of her eight saves in the game’s final minutes to halt the Warriors’ threat. Zagaja and senior Kailey Broderick were also key to grabbing ground balls that gave the Tornadoes extra possessions, which led to even more goals in the final minutes.

Dwyer finished with four goals, Broderick had two goals and two assists and Alnwick added two goals and an assist.

“There was a lot of hustle and a lot of heart,” Dwyer said. “Now we have one day to prepare, so we have to put in a lot of work tomorrow.”

Simkins said if the team plays like it did against Comsewogue, they’ll be successful in the next round.

“It was a good team win — we put all the pieces together,” she said. “It’s nice when everyone shows up, and I’m confident in the way we play when that happens. Getting this first-round win is a major barrier we finally climbed over.”

The evening of May 16 was a good one for school boards across New York State, as residents cast their ballots overwhelmingly in favor of district budgets.

According to the New York State School Boards Association, the average proposed school district tax levy increase in 2017-18 will be 1.48 percent, more than half a percentage point below the acclaimed 2 percent property tax cap. It is the fourth consecutive year the tax cap growth factor will be below 2 percent.

Here’s how school districts on the North Shore of Suffolk County fared:

Commack
According to the Commack school district’s website, the district voted 2,019-555 in favor of the $187,532,818 proposed budget. Carpenter edged out Janine DiGirolamo 1,363 votes to 1,059, and Hender narrowly beat April Pancella Haupt 1,240 to 1,148.

Comsewogue
Comsewogue residents voted 789 in favor and 208 not against the $89,796,337 budget. Incumbents Ali Gordon and Jim Sanchez won back their seats in an uncontested race, with 882 and 846 votes, respectively.

Harborfields
Members of the district voted 1,224 to 249 for the $84.4 million budget. In a tightly-contested race, David Steinberg and Christopher Kelly won the two open seats with 800 and 741 votes, respectively. Sternberg won back his seat, while the third time seemed to be a charm for Kelly. Laura Levenberg finished with 623 votes while Anila Nitekman totaled 467.

Hauppauge
The Hauppauge school district passed its $107,965,857 budget 811-308, and its capital reserve fund proposition 869-248, according to the district’s Facebook page. James Kiley and Lawrence Craft were elected to the board of education, with 803 and 797 votes, respectively.

Huntington
Residents passed the $126.2 million budget and capital reserve proposition, according to the district website. Trustees Jennifer Hebert and Xavier Palacios were re-elected to three-year terms.

Kings Park
The Kings Park community passed its $88.5 million proposed budget with 1,360 yes votes to 533 no. Incumbent Joe Bianco won back his seat with 989 votes, while challengers Katy Cardinale and J.P. Andrade finished with 733 and 110.

“I just feel great,” Kings Park Superintendent Tim Eagan said. “The budget passed with 72 percent approval. I’m just happy that the community is very happy with what we have going on here, and it’s just great to have their support. We’ve been fortunate the last couple of years. We’ve been 70 percent passing or higher.”

Middle Country
Residents chose to pass the $243,590,487 proposed budget 1,658-418. Runners Dina Phillips (1,523), Ellie Estevez (1,380) and Doreen Felmann (1,512) won their uncontested board of education seat races, with 17 write-in votes.

Miller Place
Voters passed the $126.2 million budget 763-162. With no challengers, Lisa Reitan and Richard Panico were elected with 726 and 709 votes. Other write-in candidates totaled 23 votes.

Mount Sinai
The $59,272,525 budget was overwhelmingly passed by residents, 1,007 to 251 and the library 1,111 to 144. Incumbents Robert Sweeney (1,013), Edward Law (866) and Peter Van Middelem (860) won back their seats, while Michael McGuire almost doubled his total from last year, finishing with 597.

“I’m very happy that it passed,” Mount Sinai Superintendent Gordon Brosdal said. “We have great programs here. We can maintain those programs. We made the AP Honor Roll two years in a roll. Almost every team right now is in the playoffs, our music program is better than ever, so to keep those programs is great, but we’re not resting on that. Now we can get to work on our elementary reading program, bolstering that, we have a new principal coming in who has high expectations. There are programs we want to put in place that a lot of our kids need in the elementary school.”

He was disappointed with the turnout, though.

“I’m not happy,” he said. “We’re 200 lower than last year. We have 9,000 eligible voters. I’d like to see 500 to another 1,00 approve it so we have everyone together.”

Northport-East Northport
Northport-East Northport residents said “yes, yes, yes.” With 2,074 votes for and 636 against, the $163,306,840 budget passed, while support was also strong for the capital reserve expenditure, with 2,197 votes for and 512 against. This will allow the district to use capital reserves to fund additional projects including resurfacing/replacing two tennis courts and replacing the fence at William J. Brosnan School, installing new operable gymnasium windows at East Northport Middle School, replacing circuit panels at Northport High School, replacing auditorium seating at William J. Brosnan School and replacing classroom ceilings at Dickinson Avenue Elementary School. Donna McNaughton beat out Thomas Loughran for the lone seat up for grabs with 1,750 votes to Loughran’s 769.

Port Jefferson
Community members passed the nearly $43 million proposed budget 338-74. Renovations and upgrades using the capital reserve funds was also passed, 368-43. Incumbents Adam DeWitt and David Keegan were re-elected to serve three-year terms, with 357 and 356 votes, respectively.

Rocky Point
Rocky Point residents voted to pass the $83,286,346 budget with 663 saying yes, while 246 said no. The district also sought voter approval to access $3,385,965 million from its capital reserve fund in order to complete facility renovations across the district. For that proposal, 600 voted for and 312 against.

“We are extremely grateful for the community’s support of our proposed budget and capital improvement plan,” Rocky Point Superintendent Michael Ring said. “The educational enhancements included in this budget are ones that we believe will further support the needs of Rocky Point students while also providing them with opportunities to succeed at even greater levels, while still maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility.”

Incumbent board of education member Sean Callahan and newcomer Joseph Coniglione, who is principal of Comsewogue High school, were elected with 713 and 641 votes, respectively.

Shoreham-Wading River
Voters approved the $74, 842,792 budget 1,112 for to 992 against, and passed the capital reserve fund with 1,282 yes’ to 813 nos. The people are calling for change, as Katie Anderson (1,318), Henry Perez (1,303), Erin Hunt (1,279) and Michaell Yannuci (1,087) won seats, while James Smith (1,015), Jack Costas (563) and John Zukowski (524) missed the mark. Yannucci, who has previously been on the board, will be taking the one-year seat left by Michael Fucito, and both incumbents have been ousted.

Smithtown
The community passed the proposed budget with 2,241 yes votes to 693 no. Incumbents Gledy Waldron and Joanne McEnroy, who were running unopposed, won back their seats with 2,095 and 2,090 votes, respectively.  Matthew Gribbin defeated incumbent Grace Plours with 1,835 votes to Plourde’s 1,155.

Three Village
Three Village residents voted 1,708 for to 719 against the proposed $204.4 million budget. With no challengers, incumbents Jeff Kerman, Irene Gische and Inger Germano won back their seats with 1,805, 1,794 and 1,753 votes, respectively.

Stock photo.

Northport

The Northport-East Northport school district has proposed a $163.3 million budget for 2017-18, which includes a slight reduction in staff due to a consistent trend of decreasing enrollment and several projects to improve school grounds and facilities. The budget stays within the school’s state-mandated tax levy cap — increasing the tax levy by 1.57 percent — and is a 1.22 percent increase from last year’s total budget.

Northport-East Northport Superintendent Robert Banzer. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

The district has presented multiple budget presentations throughout the month of April, which have focused on personnel and benefits; administrative and instructional changes; and buildings and ground changes.

Superintendent Robert Banzer said during the March 16 meeting the district expects to see an enrollment drop of 146 students next year, with the largest decreases in grades four, six, and 11. This has led the district to propose eliminating a teaching position at Fifth Avenue Elementary School, two at Norwood Elementary School, one at Ocean Primary School and two at East Northport Middle School for grade six. The change would result in an increase in class sizes for elementary school classes.

One health position and four positions from the art, music and physical education realm will be removed, as well as a few staff support positions. In total the proposed 2017-18 budget includes funding for seven fewer positions than the current year’s budget.

Several Northport-East Northport residents and parents of students wrote to their board, pleading for class sizes not to be changed.

“I am writing to request that class size remain the same and not be increased,” Colleen and Kevin Mahoney said. “Both [of our] children have had a wonderful education in our district. I believe this to be due to smaller class size. As a teacher, I know first-hand every extra child in a class means less individual attention to others.”

Parents Caryn and Jonathon Ciaio shared the same concerns.

“This is very disappointing and we feel strongly this decision would not be in the best interests of our children or the community,” they said. “We feel very strongly that smaller class sizes has been extremely beneficial for our children and allows for an appropriate balance of time and attention between students.”

Nearly 100 parents of third-grade students at Fifth Avenue Elementary School signed a petition to keep class sizes the same.

The buildings and grounds budget is proposed to decrease by $3.7 million or 13.6 percent from last year’s total. The budget includes plans to repair and reseal tennis courts at East Northport Middle School, repair driveways and sidewalks, replace bleachers at William J. Brosnan School, and more. The 2017-18 transportation budget includes the purchase of one new bus.

Middle schools students will see new educational opportunities if the proposed budget is passed, with plans to create robotics and automation study units for seventh- and eighth-graders; bring advanced manufacturing technology for wood and metal technology education; and the purchase of mini 3-D printers. Robotic electives and engineering courses are also in the budget.

But one Northport resident and former board of education candidate doesn’t think the current budget offers enough STEM opportunities for students.

“Northport-East Northport is trailing behind other districts when it comes to introducing STEM opportunities in the lower grades, especially in middle school,” Shawne Albero said in a letter to the board. She urged the board to offer more robotic clubs for younger students.

For art and performing arts students, the budget includes the purchase of a high performance potter’s wheel, a digital soundboard and wireless microphone system for the high school auditorium.

The board will hold a hearing on the finalized budget May 4, and the community will have the chance to vote May 16.

Harborfields

Harborfields Superintendent Francesco Ianni. Photo by Victoria Espinoza

After submitting and passing a cap-piercing budget last year which required 60 percent support from district residents on election day, this year the Harborfields Central School District has proposed a budget that stays within the state-mandated cap, while maintaining current programs — including the recent addition of full-day kindergarten. The proposed $84.4 million budget is about  $1.6 million more than last year’s total. If passed the tax levy will increase by 0.16 percent. Superintendent Francesco Ianni said at a March 22 meeting the district is expected to receive about $16 million in state aid.

Ianni said the proposed plan maintains class size guidelines, advanced placement and elective courses, music performing groups, athletics and full-day kindergarten. The budget would also add grounds staff for long-term maintenance, expand science research, special education programs, as well as enhancing the curriculum plan and initiatives, including the Harborfields 2.0 Technology Initiative, which is described as a plan to strategically align resources for longer-term sustainability.

“Through this spending plan, resources have been reallocated so that the district is able to enhance certain programs and services without incurring additional costs,” Ianni said in a statement. “There are a lot more science programs going to the high school, and we’re very proud of that,” he said at the March 22 meeting.

Ianni explained expanded science research would include adding three more sections to the introductory class, and the district’s special education program would be extended to make it a true 12-month program, so students no longer have to go off-site during the summer months. He also said Harborfield’s  tech initiative, which supports the integration of more technology throughout the district, would include launching a Google Chromebook pilot program for four ninth-grade teachers to integrate the use of Chromebooks into the curriculum. The devices are laptops powered with Google applications and are ideal for collaborative classroom work. The district hopes to have Chromebooks fully integrated into the school’s curriculum by the 2021-22 school year.

The budget will be adopted April 19, and the public hearing is set for May 9. District residents will have their chance to vote May 16.

Huntington

Huntington school district’s proposed $126.2 million budget would expand enrollment in Advanced Placement and high school elective courses, upgrade facilities, add summer enrichment classes and more. The district’s state-mandated tax levy increase cap is set at 1.86 percent, and the district comes in below that at a 1.42 percent tax levy increase. The total budget calls for a 2.42 percent increase from last year’s total. Unlike other schools in the area, Huntington is experiencing an increasing trend in enrollment, which will help revenue going forward.

Superintendent Jim Polansky. File photo by Rohma Abbas

The largest chunks of cost increases come from instruction and employee benefits. Other budget cost drivers include increased traffic costs, computer technologies, network maintenance and increased utility costs. Construction of a security vestibule at Flower Hill Elementary School is a $100,000 proposed project, and other specific costs outlined in the budget include $30,000 for a teacher’s center, and $25,000 for computer equipment.

Along with the budget, voters must also weigh in on two other propositions the school board has presented. Proposition 2 asks voters to approve release of funds already in the district’s capital reserve fund for completion of state-approved projects. This would have no impact on the tax levy or tax rate, and if the community does not vote for it, the money remains in the capital reserve fund but can’t be used for any other purpose. Proposition 3 asks voters to approve the creation of a new building improvement fund in the capital reserve, with the purpose of completing district-wide renovation and reconstruction projects.

“Use of the district’s building improvement funds have helped considerably to keep 60-year-old buildings in top shape with needed improvements and upgrades, all of which are delineated within a long-term capital plan,” Superintendent James Polansky said. “Establishment of a new fund will allow the district to continue such work responsibly, as well as to keep debt levels at their currently low levels.” This action would also have no impact on the tax levy or tax rate.

Budget adoption is set for April 18, and the public hearing is May 8. Residents will be able to vote for or against the budget and the two propositions May 16.

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