New Hyde Park area school districts go to the polls

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Public school districts throughout the New Hyde Park area will hold their respective Board of Education elections and budget votes on Tuesday, May 18. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Three new faces and one familiar one are running for two seats on the Floral Park-Bellerose Board of Education in the May 18 school board election.

Jaclyn O’Donohue and Amanda Talty are competing to replace board President Laura Ferone, who is retiring after 14 years on the board, district officials said. And incumbent Trustee Douglas Madden, who has been on the board since 2017, is running for re-election against challenger Beth Kierez.

O’Donohue, a registered nurse, has been active in several local organizations, including as president of the Wednesday Mother’s Club, Liz’s Day board member and co-leader of her daughter’s Girl Scout troop and son’s Cub Scout den.

“I believe that if we come together as parents and as a community, we can make a big change not only for the future of our children, but for the future of our fantastic village,” O’Donohue said in a Facebook post.

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Talty, a product of the Elmont and Sewanhaka school districts, is the president and CEO of the Tourette Association of America. She is also a mother of two and the recording secretary for the district’s parent teacher association.

Talty, in a Facebook post, said she wants to work toward bringing a team-teaching model to inclusion classrooms, taking advantage of public-private partnership opportunities, and establishing a clear curriculum review and renewal cycle to ensure the district’s resources are being appropriately allocated.

“I’m running for our community and our kids,” Talty said on Facebook. “If my candidacy makes folks pay closer attention to this race because so many new faces and voices are rising up then, before the ballot has even been finalized, I’ve won. So listen to my ideas and the ideas of the other candidates.”

Madden, a Floral Park resident for 17 years, has been married to his wife, Susan, for more than 20 years and is a father of three children, all graduates of the Floral Park-Bellerose School. Madden also serves as the vice president of the Floral Park Little League Board of Directors.

Kierez, his challenger, has spent the last two decades in the educational field, including as the current assistant principal at Benjamin N. Cardozo High School in Bayside, Queens. Kierez has four children and said her goal is “to ensure that every parent and child has an advocate at the table.”

“My love for education and the desire for all children to have their needs met has always been my priority as a teacher, an administrator and more importantly a mother,” Kierez said on Facebook. “I truly know for change to happen it has to start with those who seek change for the better good and our children’s education is the better good.”

The election will take place at the John Lewis Childs School and the Floral Park-Bellerose School from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The board adopted a $34.2 million budget on April 12. The budget calls for an increase of $1.7 million, or 5.3 percent, from the 2020-21 budget. The tax levy increased by 3.87 percent, which is under the allowed limit.

Expenditures in the budget include establishing a four-day pre-kindergarten program, support for English as a New Language courses, and $475,000 for a new kindergarten-through-sixth-grade reading series that will be implemented in the 2022-23 school year.

New Hyde Park-Garden City Park

All three incumbent trustees on the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education are not seeking re-election, school officials said.

They are David Del Santo, Jennifer DeRocchis and Danielle Messina. Del Santo, who has also served as the Sewanhaka Board of Education president, spent five terms on the board. DeRocchis, a former Manor Oaks Parent Teacher Association vice president, was first elected to the board in 2015 after unseating Frank Miranda. Messina, an involved parent in the school district, was appointed to the trustee position last year.

District residents Binu Jacob and Danielle Fagan are running for DeRocchis’ and Del Santo’s seats, respectively, officials said. The board will appoint someone to fill the vacancy left by Messina, with that term ending in 2023.

The board adopted a $42.3 million budget for the 2021-22 school year on Monday. The budget comes with a tax levy increase of 1.14 percent. The $32,971,547 tax levy will cost the average homeowner $42 more.

It also includes a 0.69 percent decrease in salaries to $20,649,980 and a 0.32 percent increase in benefits to $10,803,115. Administrators expect a decrease in staffing needs based on enrollment projections, and there has been a decrease in staff due to retirements, according to Michael Frank, the school district’s deputy superintendent.

State aid included in the budget also increased 24.15 percent to $7,766,370, which will help the district fund various enhancements to its programs.

Herricks

Herricks Board of Education Trustees Brian Hassan and Nancy Feinstein are running unopposed for re-election.

Feinstein, a Roslyn resident, is running for her fourth three-year term on the board. She has three children who have all attended and graduated from Herricks schools.

Hassan, an Albertson resident, is running for his fourth term on the board. He has three children who have graduated from the Herricks schools.

The board unanimously adopted a $122.9 million budget on Tuesday, a $2.33 million, or 1.94 percent, increase over the 2020-21 budget.

The budget called for a 1.42 percent increase in the 2021-22 tax levy from this year, but it remained below the state cap of 2.51 percent.

The initially proposed 1.86 percent levy increase was lowered to 1.42 percent as a result of additional state aid. The district’s average levy increase since the cap’s inception in 2012-13 is 1.66 percent.

A total of 75 percent, or $91.6 million, of the budget, is for programming, with 15 percent, or $18.4 million, for capital projects, and the remaining 10 percent of $12.8 million, made up of administrative costs.

The vote for the board and the budget will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Herricks Community Center Gymnasium.

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