By Chris Mellides
Shoreham-Wading River Central School District
The proposed budget to be voted on is $83 million, an increase of 2.87% and a tax levy hike of 1.70%, within the district’s limit. There will also be a Proposition No. 2 on capital projects of $2,898,040 with no tax levy increase.
Incumbents Thomas Sheridan and Meghan Tepfenhardt are running unopposed for reelection as trustee candidates.
Only Sheridan responded to a request for interview. He has been serving on the board of education for the past three years. His dedication to the district comes from a determined perspective to help ensure that his school district continues to build on its accomplishments and to better enable it to be recognized and celebrated for its points of pride. Sheridan said that the biggest challenge facing Shoreham-Wading River is the commitment from New York State to continue its funding for the district’s schools.
The budget vote and board of education elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, at gym from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Mount Sinai Union Free School District
The proposed budget of $63.8 million with a 2.02% increased tax rate, does not exceed the tax cap. District funds are being earmarked for renovations, replacements and upgrading infrastructure.
Voters will be asked to vote for any two of the four candidates on the ballot, who are Alice Samantha Dreyer, Alexis Fliller, John Hnat and Anthony Mangione. Incumbents AnneMarie Henninger and Lisa Pfeffer (incumbent) are not seeking reelection. Only Dreyer and Mangione responded to requests for interviews.
Alice Samantha Dreyer
Dreyer is a first-time candidate running for a seat on the board of education. A doctor of psychology, Dreyer’s focus if elected will be on mental health, as it relates to the rise of depression, anxiety and suicidality among students nationwide. Dreyer sees the importance in recognizing the needs of her district’s students and believes in inclusivity when it comes to students of all ability levels. She said that the biggest challenge facing her district stems from the COVID-19 pandemic and its ill effects on students’ learning and anxiety levels. Dreyer hopes to see her district continue to provide a broad-based, foundational education for all its students.
Mangione has never sat on the Mount Sinai board of education. The first-timer said that a large group of local residents take to social media to and ask why their voices aren’t being heard. This is the driving force behind what made Mangione run. His goal is to reverse the loss of learning that school students experienced while learning remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Mangione promises to fight to end or prevent unfunded or underfunded mandates.
The budget vote and board of education elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Mount Sinai Elementary School.
Rocky Point Union Free School District
The proposed budget to be voted on totals $88 million, an increase of 2.72%. Voters will also be asked to elect two trustees. The candidate receiving the highest number of votes will fill the seat for three years and the second seat will fill the seat immediately following the election, expiring June 30, 2023.
The following candidate information was obtained from the district’s website.
Contes has been a Rocky Point resident for the past 15 years, has two daughters in the school district and is risk and insurance manager at Henry Schein. Contes and his family have contributed to an array of local youth programs, including soccer, tee-ball and cheerleading. He has openly spoken at many BOE meetings and is an advocate for parental choice, improved school lunches and highlighting areas of cost savings for the district.
Kelly is a Rocky Point resident and mother of a child attending Rocky Point High School. As a senior administrator at Brookhaven National Laboratory, her work experience includes project management, contract administration and compliance on the state and federal levels. She’s been critical in implementing various interactive events within the district to enhance learning and opportunity for students of all ages. If elected, Kelly plans to include increased strategic planning, safety and security for increased community communication.
Ford has been a community member for 10 years and a father of three children who attend Rocky Point schools. Ford serves full time in hospitality management and volunteers his time throughout the community. He is an active PTA member as well as being a baseball coach for St. Anthony’s CYO and is a volunteer for both North Shore Little League and Rocky Point Youth Soccer Club. Ford would like to work collaboratively with fellow board members, teachers and administrators to provide the best education for the district’s students and be a voice for the community during these challenging times. His goal is to help bridge the gap between parents and educators.
Incumbent trustee Sullivan has been a resident of Rocky Point for 37 years and retired from the district after serving as a teacher and administrator for a total of 40 years. She holds a B.A. in education, a master’s in liberal studies and a master’s in education. Sullivan said that it has been an honor to serve on the board for the past nine years. She looks forward to continuing as a trustee, representing the entire community, keeping in mind that she serves as one of a team. Sullivan will work together with her fellow trustees to offer an educational program that supports the needs of all students and is mindful of the fiscal responsibility to the community.
A veteran of the U.S. Army Reserve, catechist, PTA volunteer and legal secretary, Walsh has recently completed her paralegal qualifications to bolster her advocacy and knowledge in law. Walsh, a 14-year Rocky Point resident and mother of two, looks forward to serving the students and families of the district through transparency and communication along with parental involvement in the schools. She focuses on making certain that every dollar in the budget delivers enthusiastic learning along with smaller class sizes, while eliminating administrative waste in her district.
Wilson is a retired teacher and administrator who has been part of the Rocky Point community since the 1960s. She is a married mother of two local Point graduates. She holds a B.A. in accounting, an M.A. in liberal studies/technology and an advanced degree certificate in educational leadership. She has served on the boards of the PTA, Rocky Point Civic Association and the North Shore Beach Property Owners Association. Wilson’s goals will be to continue being an advocate for a nine-period day, while also supporting districtwide improvements with a focus on increasing the graduation rate. She also seeks out perspectives on the issues helping in her consideration of the financial impacts of the budget on the taxpayer. She supports decisions that have the interests of the school community at heart.
The budget vote and board of education elections will be held Tuesday, May 17, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Rocky Point High School.