New Hyde Park-area residents will head to the polls next Tuesday to vote on school district budgets, Board of Education candidates and a library budget.
The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park school district is the only one with a contested election: Dr. Sangeeta Nischal and Kathryn Canese are vying to fill Trustee Ernest Gentile’s seat, and Saadia Malik is challenging current Trustee Patricia Rudd.
All area school district budgets are within New York’s tax cap and are set to increase by less than 3 percent.
“The Board of Education and administration have worked diligently to present a tax cap compliant budget that takes in to consideration the expressed wants and needs of the community stakeholders,” Michael Frank, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park assistant superintendent for business, said in a statement. “The proposed budget includes many exciting educational opportunities for our students … We encourage all residents to vote.”
Below are voting guides for each school district along with poll locations and hours.
New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Union Free School District
Polls are at Michael J. Tully Park, located at 1901 Evergreen Ave., and will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- New Hyde Park-Garden City Park budget
The district’s adopted budget totals $40.18 million, a 2.39 percent increase from the current budget. The tax levy is $41.75 million, an increase of $904,297. It equates to an increase of about $100 for the average homeowner, according to the district.
- Hillside Public Library budget
The library’s budget represents an increase of $17,600 from its 2018-19 budget, but keeps taxpayer contributions steady.
The budget totals $3.069 million. All but $1,000 of the $17,600 increase comes from an increase in interest revenue.
- Sewanhaka Central High School District budget
The adopted budget totals $203.56 million, an increase of $4.95 million, or 2.49 percent, from the current budget. The tax levy increase is 2.93 percent.
- Sangeeta Nischal v. Kathryn Canese
Nischal and Canese are both seeking Ernest Gentile’s trustee position, a three-year term which begins in July.
Nischal told Blank Slate Media that her goal is to increase the board’s inclusivity and would focus on student safety and encouraging districtwide volunteering.
“Our community is becoming more and more diverse,” she said. “We should always respect other people’s religions.”
Canese said her goals align with those of the district’s current board and that she cares about school district transparency and student mental health.
“Anytime you want to talk about school safety, you have to be aware of the mental health of students and staff,” she said. “I hope to bring a little more focus on that end of the spectrum.”
Nischal is a doctor who focuses on cancer research. She has two children attending the district’s schools.
Canese is a past president of the Hillside Grade School PTA and successfully petitioned the district to remove schools as polling places after a school had a lockdown drill during an election.
- Saadia Malik v. Patricia Rudd
Newcomer Malik is challenging incumbent Rudd, who has been a member of the board since 2016 and also served on it for 15 years before moving away in 2014.
Malik previously started a petition calling for the Islamic holidays Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha to be added as school district holidays.
Rudd was formerly on the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association and has lobbied for education in Washington and Albany. Her passion, she said, is legislation.
- Jennifer Kerrane
Kerrane is the incumbent, unopposed candidate for board president. She was previously a trustee on the board.
She was previously a member of the Manor Oaks School PTA and an elementary school teacher in New York City.
Floral Park-Bellerose Union Free School District
The district has two voting locations. District 1 will hold elections at John Lewis Childs School and District 2 voting will be at Floral Park-Bellerose School. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Floral Park-Bellerose budget
The district’s adopted budget totals $31.96 million, a 2.85 percent increase from the current budget. The tax levy represents an increase of 2.33 percent.
About 78 percent of the budget goes toward programming, about 11 percent goes toward building maintenance and about 12 percent goes toward administrative costs.
- Sewanhaka Central High School District budget
Please see information under New Hyde Park-Garden City Park section above.
- Michael Culotta
Culotta is running for a position on the Board of Education as Trustee Denise DellaCorte steps down.
He is an attorney who works on large-scale construction projects. He said he believes there is overdevelopment in the area that will affect the schools and is a member of a task force hoping to minimize the impact of the proposed Belmont development.
DellaCorte has been a trustee for eight years and has lived in the school district for more than 31. She is a registered nurse.
- Douglas Vigo
Vigo is an incumbent running unopposed for re-election.
He assumed his position in 2013 but has also served as the board’s vice president and president. He was also a member of Sewanhaka’s Board of Education for three years.
He said he will continue keeping an eye on the district’s fiscal responsibility and working to provide child-centered programming in his next term.