Mineola residents to vote on two uncontested trustee candidates, budget, capital reserve

Mineola residents to vote on two uncontested trustee candidates, budget, capital reserve
Incumbent trustees Brian Widman and Stacey DeCillis secured re-election to the Mineola Board of Education. (Courtesy of Brian Widman and Stacey DeCillis)

Incumbent Trustees Brian Widman and Stacey DeCillis are running uncontested for the Mineola Board of Education in a May 21 election.

The two trustees said they place value on fiscal responsibility, especially since other nearby districts have proposed staff and program cuts in their draft budgets while Mineola has not.

“As someone who plans to be a community member for many years to come, I really like helping the Mineola School District area remain an amazing, affordable place to live for future generations,” Widman said in a statement to Blank Slate Media.

Widman is a Mineola High School alum and has lived in the district for more than 50 years. He works as an audit data analyst and has one child in the district, an 11th grader, and one child who has graduated from the district. He comes from a family of educators – both of his parents were public school teachers. And his wife is a public school teacher.

In addition to keeping the tax levy below the tax cap for the past 12 years, other district accomplishments include upgrading buildings, fields and infrastructure, pivoting to remote learning during the pandemic and supporting top-quality education and extra-curricular activities, Widman said in a statement.

If re-elected, Widman said he would continue to work with administrators to keep the district fiscally sound.

Trustee DeCillis is nearing the end of her first term as a board trustee.

“My first term as board trustee has afforded me the opportunity to give back to a community that is really a special place and has influenced me to run for [re-election],” DeCillis said in a statement.

As a parent, educator and community member, DeCillis said she prioritizes providing students with a high-quality education that will shape them to become problem solvers, critical thinkers and collaborative teammates.

Her mission is holistic, as she said she views the student as the “whole child” and strives to foster a positive, inclusive learning environment across the district.

Both candidates are running to secure another three-year term.

District residents will also vote on the proposed 2024-2025 budget and a capital reserve proposition on May 21.

The proposed 2024-2025 budget in the Mineola School District is $109,552,352, which represents a $100,467, or 0.09% decrease, from last year’s budget of $109,652,819. The proposed tax levy is 2%.

This budget decrease is unusual, since most North Shore districts are facing budget increases this year and many are reaching the tax cap, blaming spikes in health insurance costs and changes to state aid.

The district received an increase in state aid under the recently adopted state budget compared to Gov. Kathy Hochul’s initial proposal. While originally facing a $90,000 drop in state aid, Mineola will now receive about a $150,000 boost, Assistant Superintendent for Business and Operations Jack Waters said.

In total, Mineola is receiving $240,000 more than was expected when the board adopted its budget in April, but no changes will be made to the proposed budget, Waters said.

If the state aid is not used to offset revenue lapses, it will go toward surpluses at the end of the year, the assistant superintendent said.

In addition to the trustee election and budget, residents will vote on a proposition to expend up to $4.5 million from the 2022 Capital Reserve for a host of projects, including the replacement of the Mineola High School lobby roof and skylight, replacement of ceiling grids and lighting in high school classrooms, funding of softball field construction, new sidewalks at the middle school, elevator and heating and air conditioning system repairs and so on.

District residents can vote on the propositions on May 21 between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. at the Mineola Synergy Building at 2400 Jericho Tpke. in Garden City Park.

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