Aitken, Post face off in Manhasset school board election

Aitken, Post face off in Manhasset school board election
Manhasset Board of Education President Pat Aitken is running for re-election against challenger Ted Post. (Photo courtesy of the Manhasset School District)

Manhasset Board of Education President Patricia Aitken is running for re-election against resident Ted Post in the school district’s May 16 election.

Aitken was named president of the board in 2019, succeeding former trustee Regina Rule, who served in the role for six years.

On several social media posts, Aitken touted the importance of investing in facilities, building on the district’s academic excellence and enhancing and strengthening the curriculum.

“I am seeking re-election to the Manhasset School Board because I care about our children,” Aitken said in a Facebook post. “My sole agenda is to continue bringing positive change to our schools for the benefit of our students, teachers, and parents, while balancing the needs of multiple constituencies.”

Post has over 25 years of experience in the banking world and has overseen financial, legal, operational and IT teams. He has also served two terms on the Manhasset Athletic Advisory Committee and has coached a variety of athletic teams.

“I would be excited to join a talented board and also bring a fresh perspective,” Post said in a statement. “I’m committed to transparency, communication and building strong relationships across the community. I want to make sure our teachers are supported and well-resourced. Given my children are all relatively young, I have a vested interest in making that happen.”

District residents will also be voting on Manhasset’s $107.7 million budget for the 2023-24 school year.

The budget is a 3% increase from the current budget, which does not exceed the allowed 2.97% tax levy increase.

The budget increased by more than $3 million, while the tax levy grew from $94.3 million in 2022 to $97.1 million this year, according to officials. The driving forces of the budget’s growth include a $1.8 million total increase in benefits, a $620,000 increase in compensation and a $681,000 increase in all other budget items.

Other budget items that mainly contribute to the increase include a $310,000 investment in the district’s special education program, a $270,000 increase in the district’s information technology department, a $93,000 increase toward facility enhancements and $63,000 for curriculum and instruction.

The budget also includes $5.2 million in state aid, an increase of $150,000 from last year. The district, according to Superintendent Gaurav Passi, will allocate $724,000 in anticipated revenue received this year and allocated for the 2023-24 tax levy.

Passi previously said the budget is “under stress” due to the rising cost of health insurance and other items, so the district is unable to transfer $125,000 to its repair reserve like it did last year. The repair reserve, Passi said, has more than $400,000 allocated to handle any “unanticipated repair issues that fall outside of the typical repair maintenance projects.”

The election and budget vote will take place on May 16 from 7 a.m.- 9 p.m. at the Secondary School gym.

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