Manhasset heads to polls in school district trustee, budget election

Manhasset heads to polls in school district trustee, budget election
Marianna Bruno and Maria Pescatore were elected to the Manhasset School District's Board of Education. (Photo courtesy of the Manhasset School District)

Manhasset residents will head to the polls May 21 to vote in the Manhasset School District election, which features a slate of new trustee candidates and the district’s $111.3 million budget.

Manhasset Board of Education Vice President Jill Pullano and Trustee Erin Royce are not seeking re-election to the board this May, with three newcomers joining the race for the two open board member seats.

Running for the two seats on the board are Eileen Bauer, Marianna Bruno and Maria Pescatore.

Voters can vote for any two of the three candidates or write-in candidates.

The two board seats are for a three-year term, which would begin on July 1 and end on June 30, 2027.

Efforts to solicit comment from the two exiting board members and the three candidates were unavailing.

Both Pullano and Royce, who are longtime parents in the district, were elected to the board in 2021 when they defeated challenger Frank Bua and the 15-year-incumbent trustee Carlo Prinzo.

Newcomer Bauer serves as Halloween Committee Co-chair for the Manhasset SCA Middle School Parent Council. No other information on Bauer was available.

Bruno is a medical professional with a background in pharmacy, public health, health policy and management. She has four children in the school district, according to her campaign page. Background information on Bruno also came from the Manhasset School Community Association website.

She has served as class representative for multiple years and currently is the representative for fifth grade. She is also the chair of the SCA’s Fall Luncheon Committee.

According to Bruno’s election website, she is campaigning on maintaining academic excellence and transparency, being a voice for students, parents and teachers, fostering community spirit and engagement, and fiscal responsibility.

“Education is a key to success in life and is an integral component to help communities thrive. When students’ educational needs are supported at multiple levels, it strengthens the entire community,” Bruno wrote on her campaign website. “Maintaining and elevating areas for academic and extracurricular excellence in the Manhasset schools at all grade levels is vitally important to prepare our students to meet the increasing demands of the future.”

Pescatore serves as the 11th-grade co-chair for the Manhasset SCA High School Parent Council. She is also the Spirit Fundraiser Committee co-chair and Sixth-Grade Promo Party Committee co-chair for the SCA’s Munsey Park Parent Council.

The three candidates will participate in a forum hosted by the Port Washington–Manhasset League of Women Voters on Wednesday. The forum will be hosted in the Community Room at the Manhasset Public Library and begin at 7 p.m.

Alongside the two trustee seats on the ballot will also be a proposition to approve the district’s budget of $111,286,207, a 3.3% increase from its current budget. Included in the budget is also a 2.68% tax levy increase, which falls within the district’s allowable tax levy cap.

The budget includes more than a dozen staff cuts, primarily of teaching assistants. This has brought pushback from students, parents and teaching assistants who have advocated for their necessity.

Eligible voters can vote for the two trustees and the school district’s budget on May 21 from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.

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