Williston, Roslyn-area school district budgets pass

Williston, Roslyn-area school district budgets pass
Roslyn High School junior Lara Gerstman works as an election official for the Roslyn school district election Tuessday. (Photo by Teri West)

Roslyn and Williston-area school district budgets passed Tuesday after residents headed to the polls in high school gymnasiums.

The Herricks election saw the most voters, and residents approved the district’s $117.5 million budget and re-elected Board of Education President Juleigh Chin.

Below are election results for East Williston, Roslyn, Mineola and Herricks.

East Williston Public Schools

East Williston school district voters approved a proposed budget just shy of $61.69 million by a vote of 294 to 110, marking a $1.68 million, or 2.8 percent, increase from the 2018-19 budget.

Paired with this is a 2.49 percent increase in the property tax levy from just shy of $54.27 million to almost $55.62 million. The school district expects just under $5.28 million in nontax revenues and to appropriate $544,000 in fund balance.

The tax levy could have increased to nearly $56.12 million, according to school district administrators, a difference of 3.41 percent. This is because of a multistep formula taking into account a variety of factors like capital projects and projected growth.

In addition, voters approved three proposals related to capital projects.

They approved expending $1 million from a previously approved capital project reserve fund for tennis court renovations at the Wheatley School 300 to 104 and spending $3.9 million on renovations of Wheatley Fields and the gym from a previously approved capital reserve fund.

By 305 to 99, voters approved establishing a new capital reserve fund worth $6.5 million over seven years to be used for several capital projects like roof and door replacements and lab renovations.

Alan Littman and David Keefe were re-elected to East Williston’s school board with 310 votes and 321 votes, respectively, in uncontested races. This will be Littman’s second term and Keefe’s fourth on the school board.

Roslyn Public Schools

Roslyn’s school budget passed with 80 percent approval along with two propositions designating funding toward capital projects and vehicle purchases.

Trustees Steven Litvack and Bruce Valauri were re-elected.

The 571 people who voted in favor of the capital reserve proposition paved the way for renovations across four district schools, including new playgrounds for Harbor Hill and Heights schools and science classroom facelifts in the high school. There were 117 votes against the proposition.

“I never cease to be amazed and humbled by the support this community shows for its public schools,” said Superintendent Allison Brown. “All of our residents should know that we are grateful for that support and do not take it for granted. Rather than make us complacent, a ‘yes’ vote inspires us to work hard to earn the trust you have placed in us.”

With 697 people voting on the budget, turnout was slightly higher than last year’s 652 budget voters.

Bryant Library’s $5.1 million budget also passed, with 576 votes in favor and 118 against. The figure is 0.3 percent higher than last year’s approved budget but keeps tax contributions stable.

“The Bryant Library Board of Trustees, administration and staff wish to thank the Roslyn community for their continued support,” said library Director Victor Caputo. “We look forward to continuing to provide you, our patrons, with the excellent service you have come to expect from your library.  You are the reason the library is the special place it is.  Visit us soon.”

Another ballot proposition sought $457,014 for the purchase of two school buses and three vans. Since it was approved, the district will be able to replace the oldest vehicles in its fleet.

The school district’s approved budget of $113.19 million is 2.94 percent higher than the current year’s and includes a $95.04 million tax levy. There were 559 votes in favor of it and 138 votes against.

Litvack and Valauri earned 545 and 536 votes, respectively, in uncontested races.

Mineola Public Schools 

Cheryl Lampasona ran uncontested for re-election to her second three-year term on the Mineola Board of Education. She received 754 votes.

Mineola’s proposed $99.5 million budget was approved with 733 votes in favor and 203 votes against it.

Lampasona, who is a fourth-grade teacher in Woodside, Queens, said she is humbled and honored to be re-elected as school trustee.

“I don’t take this position lightly,” she said in an email. “I look forward to serving the Mineola School Community for the next three years with the same drive and passion as I have served these past three years.”

She also looks forward to watching the school community “grow and flourish,” especially the new full-day pre-kindergarten program that was incorporated into the approved 2019-20 school budget.

The budget to take effect July 1 is a 1.79 percent increase from the current budget and calls for a 1.97 percent increase in property taxes.

Herricks Public Schools 

In an unopposed election, Herricks school board President Juleigh Chin was re-elected to her third term on the board 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, were both approved.

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 from the current budget. Property taxes will increase by 2.2 percent.

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