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Michael Saidens

Smithtown school district's administrative Joseph M. Barton building on New York Avenue. Photo by Kyle Barr

Smithtown Central School District has prepared a 2019-20 budget of $251.3 million, which represents a 2.66 percent budget-to-budget increase and a tax levy increase of 2.69 percent, which is within the district’s state-imposed cap.

The proposed budget, in addition to supporting the district’s financial goals, maintains the school’s comprehensive academic, athletic and extracurricular programming, as outlined on the district’s website, while increasing funding for security and student mental health services.

The school’s elementary class size stays capped at 25 students, while the math program will add teaching assistants. Two social workers will be added at the elementary and high school levels. The district will also add three guidance counselors.

The district’s three-part budget breakdown provides an overview of spending in three categories: programs, capital projects and administrative costs. For 2019-20, $187.2 million is allocated to programs, $34 million will go toward capital projects and $30.2 million will be used to pay administrative costs.

The Smithtown Central School District is divided into four voting districts and residents can vote at the designated elementary school based on location. The four elementary schools include Smithtown Elementary School, Nesconset Elementary School, St. James Elementary School and the Accompsett Elementary School. Residents can use the Voter Location Tool under the Board of Ed tab on the district’s website: www.smithtown.k12.ny.us. Polls will be open Tuesday, May 21, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Candidate rundown

Michael Catalanotto of Smithtown and Peter Tofu of  Nesconset will be running for board member Daniel Lynch’s seat, who has chosen not to run for re-election. The seat is for a three-year term beginning on July 1.

Board member Michael Saidens will be running for his seat unopposed. Saidens has served on the board since 2017, which includes a tenure as vice president. His seat would be a three-year term beginning on July 1.

Trustee Frank James will be running for re-election unopposed for his seat that will have a one-year term from May 21,2019 to June 30, 2020.

Ralph Michele of Smithtown and Jerry R. Martusciello of Nesconset will be vying for board member Glady Waldron’s seat after she decided to not seek re-election. Her seat will be for a one-year term from May 21, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

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Smithtown board of education member Michael Saidens raises his hand as he is sworn into offie. Photo from Jessica Novins.

By Ted Ryan

Change was a popular theme at Smithtown’s board of education meeting July 12. Two new trustees were sworn into office, and the board voted to update the school’s code of conduct regarding strip searches.

Board Members Michael Saidens and Daniel B. Lynch both took the oath after achieving victory at the polls in May.

Both Saidens and Lynch are serving three-year terms that will expire in June 2019.

Lynch, a Nesconset resident, works as a carpenter for the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, where he does indoor and outdoor commercial construction.

Both he and his wife graduated from Smithtown Central School District and they currently have four sons in the district.

“Smithtown is a wonderful community,” Lynch said in a phone interview. “I want it to be that way for my kids as well.”

To familiarize himself with state of his community’s education system, Lynch has been attending Smithtown board of education meetings regularly for two years before being elected as a trustee.

“I’m absolutely looking forward to being a part of the decision making process, so that all children will get an equal education, while being fiscally responsible,” he said.

Smithtown board of education member Daniel B. Lynch raises his hand as he is sworn into offie. Photo from Jessica Novins.
Smithtown board of education member Daniel B. Lynch is sworn into offie. Photo from Jessica Novins.

Saidens and Lynch were not the only ones claiming their positions; James J. Grossane repeated the same oath of office, renewing his role as superintendent.

A unanimous vote was made to re-elect Christopher Alcure as president of the board of education.

Also re-elected during the board of education meeting was Vice President Joanne McEnroy. She was also unanimously voted to stay on as the second in command.

And after the new administration was settled in, the board voted to change the district’s strip search policy.

The board has been discussing changes to the code of conduct since early June, after members expressed concerns with the policy allowing school officials to conduct strip searches when there is “probable cause to believe that there is an emergency situation that could imminently threaten the safety of the student or others.”

At a June 28 meeting, district attorney Eugene Barnosky said Smithtown does not agree with the current policy.

“We don’t conduct strip searches here … there is an anti-strip search, anti-physical search policy in place,” school district attorney said. “That’s always been the policy of this district, and it’s never been violated.”

The vote to expel that section of the code passed, and the school district officially does not support or adhere to any strip searches among their students by school officials.