East Williston, Roslyn, Herricks and Mineola school trustees run unopposed

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David Keefe (left) and Alan Littman (right) are both running unopposed for spots on the East Williston Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of John Cardillo and Alan Littman)

School candidates seeking re-election in districts across the Willistons, Roslyn and Mineola are all running unopposed.

Alan Littman and David Keefe both seek re-election to East Williston’s school board, Steven Litvack and Bruce Valauri both run unopposed in Roslyn, board President Julie Chin is facing no challengers in Herricks, and Cheryl Lampasona is running for her second term on the Mineola Board of Education.

Voting will take place on Tuesday, May 21.

East Williston Board of Education

Littman seeks re-election to his second term as East Williston school trustee. Though he is closing his first term on the school board, he has served on charitable boards for the last 30 years, including for the Boomer Esiason Foundation and Planned Parenthood.

He is currently president of Rising Stars, a not-for-profit youth foundation that strives to help develop and enrich children’s lives. Littman said the foundation provides scholarships to 38 boys and girls to attend private schools and offers tutoring and test prep.

Over his next term in East Williston, he said he hopes to continue working on changes to security and safety measures, as well as adding new school programs and making educational reforms.

“We are continuously improving education offerings to our students and making sure that they’re coming to a very safe and secure environment,” Littman said in a previous interview.

Littman said he is most proud of the board’s outreach to the Southeast Asian community. He said the school calendar now includes Diwali, Eid al-Fitr and the Lunar New Year as holidays in response to the changing demographics of the community.

“I think that we have a really good working board with excellent subcommittees,” he said. “We’ve accomplished quite a bit and I think that we have a lot more to do. It’s a lot of time and effort, but it’s rewarding and I deal with good people for one of the most important causes – to help kids.”

A board decision Littman said he was particularly proud of was the appointment of Christine Dragone as the new principal of the Willets Road School. He said he believes she is the second female principal in the school district.

Keefe is concluding his third term on the school board on which he has served since 2010 and has run unopposed every election season.

He said in a past interview that he feels that the board is “in pretty good shape” and hopes to keep it heading in the direction it has been.

“We think that we have personnel that are doing the job well,” Keefe said. “We are constantly striving to improve.”

Keefe has served on a number of boards, including state and local committees. He taught in Hempstead for about 40 years, where he also served as the union president for 30 years, he said.

He has been in education “one way or another” since at least the 1960s, Keefe said.

Since his arrival on the board, he said he has made a “massive effort” to facilitate equal opportunity for students to take AP courses and expand opportunities in foreign language programs.

“We’ve encouraged everyone to give it a shot,” said Keefe.

He said he is proud of the “complete U-turn” the board has made in terms of bonding over his tenure. The board has worked to create a capital reserve instead of using bonds for large projects which has saved the district money, Keefe said.

“I’m running because I’ve been on a lot of boards and I know the way boards function,” said Keefe. “I understand the public side versus the private side. I think it’s good for the community to have someone like me, someone that brings my unique outlook to the board.”

Residents can vote for East Williston school trustees in Wheatley’s gymnasium as well as the proposed $61.6 million school budget.

The budget is a 2.8 percent increase from the current budget and raises property taxes by 2.49 percent.

Some budget highlights are the expansion of engineering courses at North Side and Willets Road schools, the installation of flat panel screens districtwide to promote collaboration in the classroom and the addition of a social worker at Willets Road School. 

Along with the budget, taxpayers have the opportunity to vote on three propositions. One will allow the board to spend $1 million to reconstruct tennis courts at the Wheatley School and another will allocate $3.9 million for construction on Wheatley’s gymnasium, track and fields, Willets Road School fields, North Side Elementary School’s fields and basketball and baseball areas.

Proposition 4 allows the board to fund a $6.5 million capital reserve account over the next seven years to pay for the reconstruction or improvement of the district’s fields, sites, parking lots, sidewalk, roadways, school roofs, HVAC improvements and installations, the improvement of egress and entrance ways and the renovation of instructional spaces.

If approved, the propositions will be at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Roslyn Union Free School District 

Litvack is an incumbent trustee who has been on the board for 10 and a half years. He is unopposed in his run for another three-year term. He is the president of Jersey College in Teterboro, New Jersey.

He said the board’s efforts toward fiscal responsibility and curriculum enhancement are sources of pride for him.

“These accomplishments have occurred through strategic analysis that recognizes the importance of forward-thinking projects while understanding financial restraints that exist in today’s secondary educational environment,” he said.

Valauri is a trustee running for re-election unopposed. He has served on the board for nine years.

Valauri works as a prosthodontist, a specialist in dental prosthetics, such as teeth implants or dentures.

“We continue to enhance our curriculum opportunities, create state of the art facilities while remaining fiscally conscious and diligent,” he wrote in a candidate statement. “I am humbled by our Community’s confidence in my dedication and commitment.”

Voting will be held at the Roslyn High School north gymnasium from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m where residents can also vote on the proposed $113.9 million school budget and $5.1 million budget for Bryant Library.

The 2019-20 school budget is a 2.94 percent increase from the budget approved last year. If approved, the tax levy will be increased by 1.97 percent.

Nearly 53 percent of the budget goes toward salaries and another 26.3 percent goes toward benefits.

The Bryant Library budget totals $5.1 budget and keeps the amount to be raised by taxes stable at $5.06 million. The budget is a 0.3 percent increase from the current one.

A  proposition included with the budget seeks $457,014 in tax revenue so the school district can purchase two large buses and three vans. They will replace the oldest vehicles in the district’s fleet, Transportation Supervisor David Shoob said.

Another proposition will allocate $7.4 million from the 2015 Construction Capital Reserve Fund for projects across four district schools.

Harbor Hill School would have playground renovations, site work on the field and heating, ventilation and air condition system upgrades.

Height School would have playground renovations and site work on the field.

Roslyn Middle School’s interior and exterior doors would be modified.

Roslyn High School would have renovations to science rooms, the girls locker room and the gym ceiling and lighting.

Approved propositions will not affect residents’ school taxes.

Herricks Public Schools

Chin is the sole candidate on the Herricks school district ballot. She is running unopposed for a third term.

One of the main issues in the Herricks school district is the lack of a contract between teachers and the district for the past 10 months. Chin has said the board and the Herricks Teachers Association have engaged in negotiations and if re-elected one of her main priorities is to resolve the issue.

“The big challenge now are the teacher contracts,” said Chin. “First and foremost this is high on our priority list, to try to have the contract in place.”

The board president has supported efforts to begin the school day later and was a school board member when a new superintendent was selected.

“I have always had a strong sense of civic duty,” said Chin. “I don’t feel that my work is quite done yet.”

Residents of the Herricks school district can cast a ballot for school trustee at the Community Center Gym on Tuesday, May 21, which is when a vote on the district’s proposed $117.5 million budget will also take place.

Herricks proposed budget reflects a 2.75 percent increase from the current school budget and if approved school taxes will increase by 2.2 percent.

Funding in the budget includes new math books for middle school students, flexible seating desks in all schools, robotics equipment, new Chromebooks and smartboard replacements and three new school buses among other enhancements.

Herricks taxpayers also have two propositions to vote on. Proposition No. 2 will establish funding for a $10 million capital reserve account to be funded over a 10-year period. Proposition 3 will allow the district to spend $1.7 million to improve the drainage, sidewalk and asphalt at the high school and middle school.

Neither proposition will affect the tax levy.

Mineola Public Schools

Lampasona seeks her second three-year term on the Mineola school board. She ran for the seat vacated by former school board President Patricia Navarra in 2016.

Prior to serving on the board, Lampasona served as co-president of the Hampton School PTA. She is a fourth-grade teacher in Woodside, Queens, and has been teaching for the past 15 years. 

Her favorite accomplishment on the school board has been voting for and passing full-day pre-kindergarten. She said she knows from personal experience how impactful this program will be.

She said Mineola is now the only district in Nassau County to offer a free full-day program.

“The youngest members of our school community, 3 and 4-year-olds, will be able to gain the knowledge from our expert teachers,” Lampasona said.

In her next term, Lampasona said she looks forward to maintaining and growing school programs and preserving school facilities while staying within the tax cap.

“I am excited to see where Mineola will go in the next three years and proud to be able to have a front-row seat,” she said in an email.

Some of the programs she said she looks forward to expanding are dual language, fine arts and computer science.

Residents in the Mineola school district can vote at Jackson Avenue and Meadow Drive schools, where voting on the proposed $99.95 million school budget will also be held.

The 2019-20 school budget is a 1.79 percent increase from the current budget and includes a 1.97 percent increase in property tax revenue.

Some of the budget’s highlights are the replacement of flooring and carpets across the district, the addition of a robotics room at Mineola High School, new furniture in 14 classrooms, the addition of full-day pre-kindergarten and a new math program for kindergarten to sixth grade.

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