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Huntington school board of education

Huntington High School. File photo.

The Huntington Union Free School District finalized the 2019-20 proposed budget, which totals $133.5 million, an increase of 2.83 percent and $3.6 million over the current year’s spending plan. The new budget would raise the tax levy by an estimated 2.58 percent. The tax levy cap amount would be $110,400,611. A home assessed at the district average of $3,415 would see an increase of $220.27. The tax rate will go from $239.36 to $245.81 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 2.69 percent.

Huntington will be receiving $17.9 million in state aid, which is an increase of over $340,000 from the current year budget. Foundation aid for 2019-20 totals at $9.7 million an increase of $225,573. 

The 2019-20 budget will allocate $372,640 for new text and print resources, $93,000 for new computer software, ww$41,900 for new library resources and $200,000 for new instructional equipment, including computers and tablet devices. The budget would also allow for continued core curricular and digital resources, enhanced social and emotional learning program, expanded library and digital media programs, elementary guidance program extension and facility and technological upgrades.

At the May 21 vote, residents will be able to approve an additional proposition that would fund an estimated $3.9 million worth of projects. According to the district, it will not result in any increase in taxes since the funds exist in a reserve fund established to cover costs with renovation and reconstruction work.

Huntington High School

•Replacement of set of boilers that are more than 60 years old: $1.5 million

•Partial roof replacement: $1 million

•Turf athletic field replacement: $650,000

•Perimeter safety netting system enhancement and replacement at the turf athletic field: $55,000

•Replacement of goal posts at the turf athletic field: $41,000

•Building total: $3.246 million

Finley Middle School

•Replacement of the building’s student lockers that are 54 years old: $600,000

Huntington Union Free School District board of education candidates

Huntington school district board of education candidates: This year there will be three trustee seats open on the ballot. The top two finishers will win election to three-year terms commencing July 1 and running through June 30, 2022. Current two-term trustee Bari Fehrs has chosen not to run for re-election.

Bill Dwyer 

Current board member Dwyer will be seeking re-election for the 2019-20 school year. He has been elected a member previously in 2008 and 2013, which includes a tenure as board president. Dwyer and his wife, Karen have resided in Huntington for the past 21 years and they are the parents of three Huntington High School graduates. 

Michele Kustera

The challenger has lived in the district for the past 16 years and has a daughter in her freshman year at Huntington High School and a daughter who is a sixth grader at Woodhull Intermediate School. Kustera has volunteered and raised money for the Michael J. Fox Foundation Team Fox by running the New York City marathon twice. She has served on the district’s Long-Range Planning Committee, Food Allergy Committee and serves as the PTA council president. 

Joseph Mattio 

Mattio and his wife, Stefania, have resided in Huntington for the past 21 years. They currently have two sons attending district schools; a sixth-grader at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School and a junior at Huntington High School. The Huntington resident has served on the Huntington Booster Club’s board of directors for the past five years and has coordinated field house operations on game days during that time. He has been active in the community, coaching teams in the St. Hugh’s basketball, Huntington Village Lacrosse Club and Huntington Sports League football organizations. 

Huntington High School. File photo.

Two incumbents will square off against a former administrator in the race for two seats on the Huntington board of education.

Bari Fehrs is running for her second term while Bill Dwyer is seeking his third victory. Carmen Kasper, who served as the district’s director of world languages for 14 years before retiring in June 2015, is challenging the pair.

Carmen Kasper

Kasper_Kasperw“The hardest thing about making that decision [to retire] was that I was not going to work with students any more,” Kasper said in an email. But by running for the board, “I could still work for them, serve them the best I could, and serve them to the best of my knowledge by being a trustee, making decisions that would help to improve their education.”

Kasper has lived in Huntington for 10 years. She has spent her life as an educator, teaching English in Peru and Spanish in Copiague school district. She earned a degree in education from SUNY Old Westbury and a master’s degree from Hofstra University in teaching English as a second language.

Bari Fehrs

Fehrs_FehrswFehrs, a 27-year Huntington resident, was elected to the school board in 2013. She was on the board’s Safety Committee, Health and Wellness Committee, Shared Decision Making Committee and Policy Committee during her first term.

Fehrs said she is proud of several accomplishments in her first term, like the board restoring a full-day kindergarten program, which was previously cut, without piercing the state-mandated cap on tax levy increases; expanding academic and extracurricular programs; and enhancing technological infrastructure.

“I look forward to the opportunity to serve another term as a school board trustee, to continue the excellence in education that the Huntington community has come to expect while being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of this district,” she said in an email.

Bill Dwyer

Dwyer_FilewBill Dwyer was first elected in 2008. He left the board in 2011 after his first term, and was elected again in 2013. He served as president of the board for three school years.

“I am proud of the work we have done in adding programs and services, all within the realm of responsible budgeting,” Dwyer said in an email. “I have made positive contributions to the school district during my time on the board and would be honored to continue my service.”

Dwyer has a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He started his own health publishing company called Rocket Science Publishing, which produces patient education materials to help in chronic disease management. He currently works for an educational technology company.

Polls will be open on May 17 to vote on the district’s $123 million budget and select two board members. There is another item on the ballot: the release of $2.4 million from the district’s capital reserves for infrastructure upgrades related to handicap accessibility.