By Janelle Clausen, Jessica Parks and Teri West
New Hyde Park voters across several school districts approved their school budgets on Tuesday, while voting in two new school board trustees.
Incumbent Patricia Rudd defended her seat on the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education, defeating challenger Saadia Malik 825 to 230. Kathryn Canese, meanwhile, earned 822 votes to Sangeeta Nischal’s 208 to earn a seat that Trustee Ernest Gentil is vacating.
Efforts to reach Canese and Rudd Wednesday morning were unavailing.
Voters also approved the district’s $40.18 million budget, with 698 voting in favor of it and 385 voting against. Uncontested incumbent Trustee Jennifer Kerrane was re-elected with 801 votes.
Also on the ballot were the Hillside Public Library budget of $3.069 million, which was approved with 806 votes in favor and 269 against, and library Trustee Maura Rossi, who was re-elected in an uncontested race.
“We appreciate the continued support of our community,” library Director Charlene Noll said.
Floral Park-Bellerose school district voters approved the proposed $31.96 million budget 512 to 308 votes, marking a 2.85 percent – or $885,199 – budget-to-budget increase.
The approval comes with a 2.33 percent tax levy increase, the maximum allowed under under the state tax cap formula, with revenues from property taxes slated to go up from almost $23.47 million to $24.01 million.
The Floral Park component of the Sewanhaka Central High School District, which has five high schools, including New Hyde Park Memorial High School and Floral Park Memorial High School, voted 484-321 in favor of the Sewanhaka’s district budget of $203.56 million.
This is an increase just shy of $4.95 million, or 2.49 percent, from the current operating budget.
“I am happy the budget passed,” Laura Ferone, the president of the Floral Park-Bellerose school board, said at a meeting on Tuesday night. “We are always grateful for the support of the community.”
Douglas Vigo and Michael Culotta, who both ran unopposed to be school board trustees, were also elected with 493 votes and 570 votes, respectively, to three-year terms.
Culotta, an attorney working on large-scale construction projects and a member of the Belmont task force, fills the spot of Denise Dellacourte, who had served on the school board since 2011 but declined to run again this year.
Vigo, a financial controller, joined the school board by appointment in 2013 and has served for six years. He was also on the Sewanhaka High School Board of Education for three years.
In an unopposed election, Herricks school board President Juleigh Chin was re-elected to her third term as a trustee with 1,149 votes.
Herricks voters also approved the district’s $117.5 million budget with 1,048 votes in favor and 420 against it.
Chin, in her next three-year term, has said that she would prioritize forging a contract between the district and the teachers. The teachers have lacked a contract for the last 10 months.
In the past, Chin has supported efforts to begin the school day later and was a school board member when a new superintendent was selected.
Propositions 2 and 3, to establish a capital reserve fund and to authorize the district’s use of $1.7 million for various school improvements, both passed.
Proposition 2 received 1,058 votes in support and 364 against it, while Proposition 3 had 1,105 votes cast in its favor and 325 against.
The 2019-20 budget to take effect July 1 is a 2.75 percent increase over the current budget. Property taxes will increase by 2.2 percent.
Voters also approved the $234.42 million budget for the Great Neck school district, which stretches into North New Hyde Park, with 1,289 votes in favor and 257 against. This budget is about 1.99 percent higher than the current $229.84 million.
Donna Peirez, the school board’s policy committee chairwoman and a former Lakeville School teacher, won her uncontested race with 1,227 votes.
Paired with this were voters approving a $9.65 million budget for the Great Neck Library, which supports the operation of the Main Library and its Parkville, Lakeville and Station branches, 1,199 to 323.
“The Board of Trustees and staff of the Great Neck Library appreciate the support of the community, shown by the overwhelming approval of the Library’s operating budget,” acting Director Tracy Van Dyne said. “Thank you for your vote of confidence which enables the Library to continue to deliver services that are responsive to the needs of the community.”
John Nugent contributed reporting.