Trustee race on EWSD ballot with budget and reserve fund

Trustee race on EWSD ballot with budget and reserve fund
East Williston Board of Education President Mark Kamberg, left, and challenger Denise Tercynski, right. (Photos courtesy of the candidates)

Residents in the East Williston School District will be voting on the district’s $69M budget, one contested race for a trustee seat and a budget proposition during the May 16 voting day. 

Incumbent Trustee Mark Kamberg is running against challenger Denise Tercynski for a three-year term. 

Kamberg, an Albertson resident, has been a trustee for 15 years, serving as board president for 13 of them.

Tercynski, a Mineola resident, has experience serving on the executive board of The Wheatley School and Willets Road School’s PTO executive board. 

Recent Board of Education meetings have had discussions on diversity, equity and inclusion programs and recent attempts by Project Veritas, a right-wing group known for deceptively edited exposé videos with ties to prominent conservative and Republican groups nationally, to make its presence felt in some of Nassau County’s public school districts.

Kamberg told Blank Slate Media when there are concerns in the district from residents, it’s important to follow the work set out in a district’s strategic plan.

“I think that everybody is of value to the conversation. You want to be as inclusive as you can, making sure that everybody has an opportunity to participate in discussions,” Kamberg said. “To me, that’s really the secret to being transparent and making sure that all of these discussions take place with your community groups.”

Tercynski said it may take time, but it’s paramount for any district to make families feel comfortable again about their relationship with their schools or school board. 

“I think everything starts with regaining the community’s trust when it comes to parents and our children,” Tercynski said. “Hearing ‘distrust’ and ‘your child’ potentially in the same sentence is like oil and water. Once that is restored, and restored over time, people will start to feel comfortable again and I’m dedicated to making sure that happens.” 

Also on the ballot is the $68,889,276 budget for the 2023-2024 school year, which is a 3.88% increase in spending from the current budget. 

The tax levy increase is 1.94%, which falls below the state-mandated tax cap. 

The district is receiving $7.1 million in state aid, a 33.86% increase from the current year’s state aid of $5.3 million. 

Based on district numbers from the 2022-2023 school year, East Williston is spending $43,109.68 per pupil according to the proposed budget.

Budget highlights include boys modified volleyball as a new program, an additional social worker, universal pre-kindergarten at North Side Elementary School and redesigns of The Wheatley School’s TV studio and robotics training space, among other things. 

East Williston’s ballot proposition is to authorize the establishment of a capital reserve fund not to exceed $7 million, funded over a maximum of ten years.

The reserve fund would include but is not limited to eventual roofing replacements, improvements to Willets’ fields and Wheatley’s wood shop and cafeteria. 

Voting for East Williston will take place on Tuesday, May 16 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at The Wheatley School gymnasium.

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