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Budget Passes In GC, NS School Districts

Brady, Huggins and Nedbor-Gross elected to GC school board, Berliner and Labbate to NS

Soon after the polls closed at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, the results started coming in to the anxiously waiting administration at Glen Cove High School, marking the end of a hard-fought battle to raise the community’s awareness about the importance of passing the budget.

The budget passed 930 to 455, a 68 percent margin of approval. A small group of administrators, school board members, candidates, families and other community members gathered at the high school showed their support and enthusiasm for the passing of the budget and the election of the trustees.

“I am very delighted that the budget passed,” said Superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria. “I want to thank the community for the vote of confidence and support. We will continue to work hard with the school board to remain transparent and to operate with educational soundness and fiscal responsibility.”

Incumbents Gail Nedbor-Gross and David Huggins were re-elected to the board of education, and Donna Brady won the third open seat on the school board. Brady had the highest number of votes, with a total of 954, defeating candidates Eric Bailey (621) and Grace Slezak (519). Nedbor-Gross received 929 votes, and Huggins received 719.

“I am honored,” said Brady. “I hope I live up to this.”

The budget for the 2012-13 school year will be $74,098,650, an increase of 2.84 percent from last year’s budget, with a tax levy increase of 2 percent. The board, after some debate, voted last month to propose a budget that falls within the state’s tax levy cap.

While the budget did pass with a high margin of approval, the numbers indicate that only 1,385 people actually voted.

“I’m happy with the election,” said Huggins, “but I am disappointed at the voter turnout. Less than 8 percent of registered voters showed up at the polls.”

The North Shore School District had a little bit better voter turnout; the budget passed with 1,838 yes votes and 712 votes against it. Incumbent Dr. Herman Berliner was re-elected to the school board with 1508 votes, and Antoinette “Toni” Labbate was elected as a trustee as well, defeating challenger Marianne Russo by a vote of 1423 to 1412.

“I appreciate being re-elected and I am very pleased with the election results, especially given the strong show of support for the new budget. I don’t think, however, that any of us can and should rest based on these results,” said Berliner. “We still face the challenge of the ramp down of the Glenwood Landing LIPA power plant, we still face the ongoing tax cap, and we face even more unfunded mandates in the years ahead. We all need to work together to ensure that the excellence of a North Shore education continues and through working together I am convinced we will be able to do so.”