Residents will be voting Tuesday on school budgets and candidates for school boards with a variety of issues to consider, from the sale of land, adding a student to the board, to roof and boiler replacements.
The elections come as school districts are coming out of the worst of the Covid-19 epidemic, with some candidates and residents debating how to continue to respond to it, and whether to continue such safety measures as barriers, masks for children, and remote teaching and learning.
Two races, Huntington and Harborfields, feature candidates who bring considerable social activism to their races. Theresa Sullivan, who is seeking a spot on the Huntington board, is best known for her work putting together Huntington Hospital Meals, which fed hospital workers during the worst days of the Covid-19 epidemic and provided business to struggling restaurants. Dr. Eve Krief, who has taken on social causes from racism to immigration to vaccinations, is one of six candidates running in Harborfields. Both are running against experienced incumbents and challengers with deep education history, such as as Thomas Galvin in Huntington, who is chair of social studies at New Hyde Park Memorial High School and helped create Huntington High School’s Model U.N. Club.
Other elections, such as Half Hollow Hills, have two incumbents, Stephanie Gurin and Adam Kleinberg running unopposed. The $272 million budget represents a 2.85% increase from this year’s expenditure plan and includes a property tax levy increase of 1.56%.
In South Huntington, two incumbents are seeking to return, and one candidate is looking to fill an open seat. On the ballot are propositions to allow a non-voting student on the board, and a plan to sell off the unused teen center near Walt Whitman High School. Another proposal, to sell an athletic field, has been pulled from the ballot because of a technical issue with the title to the property.
The Elwood school board campaign appears more fierce than some others, with board president James Tomeo and trustee Heather Mammolito seeking re-election. They were both endorsed by the Elwood Teachers Alliance.
Challengers Bryan Johnson and Amy Kern have been active, with Kern complaining about comments made about the district’s academic ranking. Both challengers appear together in a series of Youtube videos posted this weekend to outline their views.
The Elwood budget is $66,913,579, an increase of 3.83 percent.
In Northport, four candidates– incumbent Victoria Buscareno, and three others, Tammie Topel, Warner Frey and Carol Taylor– are running for two open seats. The budget of $174,704,748, represents a 1.13 percent increase. The proposed budget has come under criticism because the school board voted in April to close two elementary schools, described as way to save money, but still raises taxes. United Teachers of Northport endorsed Buscareno and Taylor.