Douglas Vigo not seeking re-election to Floral Park-Bellerose board

Douglas Vigo not seeking re-election to Floral Park-Bellerose board
Floral Park-Bellerose Trustee Douglas Vigo has been on the board of education since 2013. (Photo courtesy of Douglas Vigo)

The Floral Park-Bellerose Board of Education will have at least one new trustee following the election on May 17. 

Michael Culotta, who joined the board in 2019, is running against Matthew Sexton while Douglas Vigo, appointed in 2013, is not seeking re-election, according to district officials.

Culotta first ran unopposed for former Trustee Denice Dellacourte’s spot on the board. He is an attorney working on large-scale construction projects who moved from New York City to Floral Park eight years ago with his wife. 

Matthew Sexton is a lifelong district resident. Sexton posted quotes to Facebook announcing his candidacy. 

Matthew’s focus will be on parent’s rights, special education and budget transparency. Matthew will not support any new administrative spending until an itemized budget is provided to residents at the start of the annual budget process,” Sexton’s post read. “Using his experience as a Social Worker, Matthew can help shape policies that focus on students growing and coping within an ever-changing world in line with the values instilled by their parents.”

Vigo is in his ninth year as a trustee on the board and was appointed in 2013. He has lived in the district for over 39 years and has three children. Vigo is a financial controller who has served as a board trustee, vice president and president of the board. He has also served on the Sewanhaka Central High School Board of Education for six years.

Running for his  seat are Rosemarie Peltonen, a teacher in the district, and Michele Vincent.

Voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the John Lewis Childs School and Floral Park-Bellerose School. 

Great Neck Board of Education Trustee Donna Peirez is running for re-election against district resident Emil Hakimi.

Peirez, who was first elected to the board in 2016 to fill a vacant seat left by Monique Bloom, said in a letter to Blank Slate Media that protecting quality public education and promoting transparency throughout the district are her paramount concerns ahead of the May 17 election.

“All parents who live in Great Neck are entitled to a quality education for their children,” Peirez said. “In order for our students to continue to excel in school and beyond, we must preserve the creative, innovative and visionary programs we offer and continue to hire and retain the best teachers.”

Peirez, who previously served as a teacher at the Lakeville School for nearly three decades, said the school district’s “stellar reputation” is the driving force behind many families, including her own, to come to Great Neck. Her tenure as a board member has included helping navigate the district through the coronavirus pandemic and protecting the safety and well-being of its students.

“These experiences have helped me to understand the special families of this community, my community, in a unique manner,” Peirez said. “I am first and foremost an advocate for children. On their behalf, I am seeking another term on the Board of Education to continue championing public education.”

Hakimi, who has four children enrolled in the district, said in a statement that the board’s main focus should be on “the pursuit of academic excellence.” He said there has been a “shift in focus towards social and political agendas” in the district over the past year.

“Students of every caliber, whether in advanced courses, general education, or special education deserve a path to success,” Hakimi said. “We should be grooming the next generation of doctors, lawyers, educators, and entrepreneurs, not social justice warriors.”

Hakimi also called for transparency among the board to properly inform district stakeholders about what is occurring throughout the schools and said he can offer an “on the ground perspective to administrative policies.” He also noted the increased tension at recent Board of Education meetings, saying he will help mitigate conflict between administrators and parents if elected.

“Recent School Board meetings have become increasingly hostile and contentious, causing a rift within our wonderful community,” Hakimi said. “If elected, I will bridge the disconnect between parents and the schools. I recognize the need for parental involvement in a child’s education, as well as the need for transparency from the administration and the faculty.”

The election will also include a $261.4 million budget for the 2022-23 school year that the board adopted earlier this month.

In Herricks, one board seat is available for a three-year term following the expiration of the term currently held by Juleigh Chin. Also on the ballot will be the $125.3 million budget proposal for the 2022-23 school year. The proposal represents a spending increase of 1.99 percent from the current year and calls for a tax increase of 0.5 percent. 

Breaking down the budget, 76 percent of it is devoted to programs and 13 percent goes to capital improvements, according to district officials. The district anticipates state aid of $16.6 million, an increase of $2.2 million from the current year.

A final budget review will be held on May 5. 

Efforts to reach school district officials for further information were unavailing.

Rob Pelaez contributed reporting.

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  1. I read the above article written by Brandon Duffy and Robert Pelaez. Covering a School Board Election is basic journalism 101. Douglas Vigo of Floral Park was never appointed by the BOE. He was opposed by Nadia Holubnyczyj-Ortiz when former Trustee David Tsoupros stepped down. Michael Culotta ran unopposed when Denise DellaCorte ( note the spelling) stepped down. This was not a difficult story to cover. TWO reporters wrote this?? Wow.


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