Mineola area school districts go to the polls

Mineola area school districts go to the polls
Public school districts throughout the Willistons and Mineola areas will hold their respective Board of Education elections and budget votes on Tuesday, May 18. (Photo courtesy of Flickr)

Middle school teacher Stacey DeCillis is running unopposed for the seat on the Mineola Board of Education held by President Christine Napolitano, who announced last month that she will not seek re-election.

The school board elections in Mineola and other area districts will be held on Tuesday, May 18.

Trustee Brian Widman, a Roslyn Heights resident, is also running unopposed for his third term on the board.

Napolitano endorsed the candidacy of DeCillis, an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Garden City Middle School. DeCillis said on Facebook that her goal is to prioritize students throughout the district.

“My goal is to ensure this district continues to provide high-quality education to all of our district’s children and continues to create a generation of lifelong learners,” she said in a statement. “As a parent to 3 school aged children and an educator myself, I am hopeful to be a valuable member to this team.”

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Napolitano, a Williston Park resident for almost 30 years, cited giving more attention to her “growing family and husband” as a reason to step down and said she informed district Superintendent Michael Nagler of her decision in January.

“I announced today that after 12 years of serving on Mineola’s BOE, I will not be seeking re-election for a fifth term,” Napolitano said in a tweet. “I will never be able to say thank you enough to my community for letting me share in this amazing journey. It has been the honor of my life.”

The district’s election will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voting will occur at the Jackson Avenue School at 300 Jackson Ave. in Mineola and the Meadow Drive School at 25 Meadow Drive in Albertson.

The board also adopted a $111.8 million budget for the 2021-22 school year, an increase of almost $11 million, or 10.87 percent, from the $100.1 million budget for 2020-21.

The budget calls for no increase in the tax levy. Capital projects such as the next steps on Jackson Avenue renovations and additions call for $13 million, according to Assistant Business Manager Andrew Casale.

Jackson Avenue renovations include a new cafeteria, kitchen, playground, sidewalks, retaining walls on the east side of the school, and new grass fields for soccer and lacrosse. Also featured is the construction of a new field house, which officials expect to take about three years to complete.

East Williston

East Williston Board of Education Trustees Robert Fallarino and Leonard Hirsch are running unopposed to retain their seats.

Hirsch, from Roslyn Heights, has served two terms on the board. He has two children, one in Willets Road School and one in North Side School. Hirsch, who grew up in East Williston, was first elected to the board in 2012.

Fallarino, a medical malpractice attorney, will be seeking his fifth three-year term on the board. Fallarino has also previously served as a prosecuting attorney for the Village of Floral Park.

The board adopted a $64 million budget for 2021-22, which includes $6.81 million to fund various capital projects. The $63,984,675 budget is a 1.4 percent increase from the $63,091,128 budget for 2020–21. The budget also comes with a property tax levy increase of 1.67 percent.

Joseph Piscopia, a member of the Capital Facilities Advisory Committee, outlined several current and future projects underway at the district’s schools. They include the installation of a new irrigation system for the fields at Northside School and the addition of new sidewalks from the parking lot at Willets Road School.

Some projects have been completed recently at the Wheatley School, including the installation of a new gymnasium floor and replacement of the turf on the baseball field.

New Hyde Park-Garden City Park

All three incumbent trustees on the New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education are not seeking re-election, school officials said.

They are David Del Santo, Jennifer DeRocchis and Danielle Messina. Del Santo, who has also served as the Sewanhaka Board of Education president, spent five terms on the board. DeRocchis, a former Manor Oaks Parent Teacher Association vice president, was first elected to the board in 2015 after unseating Frank Miranda. Messina, an involved parent in the school district, was appointed to the trustee position last year.

District residents Binu Jacob and Danielle Fagan are running for DeRocchis’ and Del Santo’s seats, respectively, officials said. The board will appoint someone to fill the vacancy left by Messina, with that term ending in 2023.

The board adopted a $42.3 million budget for the 2021-22 school year on Monday. The budget comes with a tax levy increase of 1.14 percent. The $32,971,547 tax levy will cost the average homeowner $42 more.

It also includes a 0.69 percent decrease in salaries to $20,649,980 and a 0.32 percent increase in benefits to $10,803,115. Administrators expect a decrease in staffing needs based on enrollment projections, and there has been a decrease in staff due to retirements, according to Michael Frank, the school district’s deputy superintendent.

State aid included in the budget also increased 24.15 percent to $7,766,370, which will help the district fund various enhancements to its programs.


Herricks Board of Education Trustees Brian Hassan and Nancy Feinstein are running unopposed for re-election.

Feinstein, a Roslyn resident, is running for her fourth three-year term on the board. She has three children who have all attended and graduated from Herricks schools.

Hassan, an Albertson resident, is running for his fourth term on the board. He has three children who have graduated from the Herricks schools.

The board unanimously adopted a $122.9 million budget on Tuesday, a $2.33 million, or 1.94 percent, increase over the 2020-21 budget.

The budget called for a 1.42 percent increase in the 2021-22 tax levy from this year, but it remained below the state cap of 2.51 percent.

The initially proposed 1.86 percent levy increase was lowered to 1.42 percent as a result of additional state aid. The district’s average levy increase since the cap’s inception in 2012-13 is 1.66 percent.

A total of 75 percent, or $91.6 million, of the budget, is for programming, with 15 percent, or $18.4 million, for capital projects, and the remaining 10 percent of $12.8 million, made up of administrative costs.

The vote for the board and the budget will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Herricks Community Center Gymnasium.

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