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Keith Frank

Miller Place residents listen to the board of education discuss the proposal of hiring armed guards and including it in the 2018-19 budget. File photo by Kevin Redding

Miller Place residents passed this year’s $72,685,864 school budget with 616 yes votes and 209 no. The second proposition, the library budget, passed 722-101.

“The budget increase at 2.1 percent maintains all current academic programs, clubs and athletics, as well as maintaining our capital project planning,” Superintendent Marianne Cartisano said in the weeks before the budget vote.

The budget saw a 2.8 percent increase to the tax levy. The increase stayed within the tax levy cap, so the budget only required a simple majority to pass.

The budget includes a $530,000 transfer to capital funds for initiatives such as new high school courses for honor chemistry, virtual enterprise — a course on learning about global business and enterprise — and Engineering Design using VEX Robotics, which includes design kits used to design automated devices and robots.

Incumbent trustee Keith Frank ran unopposed for his second three-year term and received 688 votes.

Frank ran on a platform of trying to offer programs for all students with different interests, especially including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math classes.

“We’re trying to balance the needs and the wishes of everyone, whether it’s arts, athletics or music — whatever the kids want to do,” Frank said before the election. “Kids should be able to go out and properly tackle the world.”

Board president Johanna Testa said she was happy to see Frank back for another term.

“We’re looking forward to the next couple of years with him here,” she said. “[Keith Frank] is an attorney and he’s had experience dealing with contract negotiations and things of that nature. That’s been a benefit to us.”

The Miller Place board of education incumbent Keith Frank is running unopposed to maintain the position he’s held for the last three years.

The trustee has been a Miller Place resident since 2003, and currently works as a labor and employment attorney for the Silverman Acampora law firm based in Jericho. He moved to Miller Place to raise his kids in what he saw as a good school district and kid-friendly area.

Keith Frank is running for his second term. File photo

Two of his three kids are currently enrolled in the district. His oldest child graduated from last year. While his kids matured he coached North Shore Little League soccer, softball and baseball.

When Frank ran in 2015 he said he wanted to meet the needs of his own children as well as the rest of the students in the district.

“I got a lot of fulfillment and satisfaction working on the board,” Frank said. “I want to continue that with the great team we have here.”

He said he believes that the main focus of the board should be offering programs for all students with different interests.

“We’re trying to balance the needs and the wishes of everyone, whether it’s arts, athletics or music — whatever the kids want to do,” Frank said. “Not all kids have the same interests. For example, with my kids, one’s athletic, one is interested in the arts. It’s about making sure we can properly fund those and support any of those activities.”

Frank said that technology, science and math focused courses should be a staple in the school’s curriculum to deal with a developing world.

“Kids should be able to go out and properly tackle the world,” he said.

Board president Johanna Testa said she was happy to see Frank put in an application for a second term.

“We’re looking forward to the next couple of years with him here,” she said. “What I find with our current board is we may not all agree with each other all the time, but we work well together and we work toward the common good of the district. [Keith Frank] is an attorney and he’s had experience dealing with contract negotiations and things of that nature. That’s been a benefit to us and the district.”

Last March Miller Place School District hired one armed security guard for each of the four school buildings in the district.

Frank would not go into detail on continuing those services or putting more effort and funds in new security upgrades, but he said options will be reviewed again going into the next school year.

“We’re taking it one step at a time,” Frank said. “We have approved [the security guards] through the end of this year, then we will take up that issue and review it again.”

Board elections will take place with the budget vote Tuesday, May 15 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the North Country Road Middle School gym, at 191 North Country Rd. in Miller Place.

This version was updated to correctly identify at what time and where the budget and trustee vote will take place.

Two remain in school board race

The two remaining candidates running for one open seat on the Miller Place Board of Education opened up to the community Tuesday night during the district’s meet the candidate night.

Keith Frank photo by Barbara Donlon
Keith Frank photo by Barbara Donlon

Mike Manspeizer, 55, a former board member and Keith Frank, 50, an attorney running for the first time, answered questions from roughly 20 people in the audience during the 45-minute event.

Tom Brischler, a retired high school English teacher, announced he was withdrawing from the race on Tuesday.

Manspeizer, 55, a program manager for Cisco Systems, said board members do a lot and he wants to be there to review sensitive issues, like those discussed in executive session.

“I want to make sure we’re thoughtful about the things that we do so when personnel issues come up, we want to make sure we address that,” he said.

Frank said he is running because he’s seen how well the district has met the needs of his three children and he would like to be part of helping others as well.

“I think the main reason I wanted to run for the board this year is because I live it everyday [with his own children],” Frank said.

Residents at the meeting wanted to know what the two candidates would bring to the board. Both men felt their careers would assist them.

Mike Manspeizer photo by Barbara Donlon
Mike Manspeizer photo by Barbara Donlon

“What I will bring to the board is my 25 years experience working with businesses, working with management, working with unions, working as a labor and employment attorney, working to make everybody work together,” Frank said.

Manspeizer highlighted the contractual work he does with his company and the technology knowledge he could bring to the board. Manspeizer said his business in the tech world has given him a somewhat worldly background.

“I work with people from all over the world, different cultures,” Manspeizer said.

When a question on education reform was asked, things got tense, as Manspeizer stopped mid sentence to address an audience member who may have rolled their eyes.

“Like I said before, things are changing the world is changing. Education may stay the way it is for a while, but forces will break it eventually. So you have to … ,” Manspeizer said with a slight pause. “Yeah I mean you can come up here and you know talk if you want to if you want to roll your eyes that’s fine.”

Manspeizer went on to finish his statement. He said that because the district is a state institution, they must adhere to the law.

Frank expressed similar sentiments.

“What it really does come down to is we are guided by the law, we do have to follow the law,” Frank said. “However parents can feel the way they want to feel [and] parents can do what they feel is necessary for their child.”

In their closing remarks, the candidates thanked the community for coming out to the event and encouraged residents to come out more often.

The school board election and budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 19 at North Country Road Middle School from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m.

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