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Meet the Candidates for the Massapequa BOE

Christine Lupetin Perrino

Christine Lupetine Perrino is an incumbent school board member running for re-election.

Ms. Perrino has been on the BOE for the past nine years, serving as president for two years and vice-President for six years. In addition, Ms. Perrino has been the Massapequa Board of Education’s Student Advisory Chairperson for nine years.

Ms. Perrino has lived in the Massapequa district for the past 24 years. She and her husband have a daughter attending Fordham University, a son in 10th grade at Massapequa High School, and a son in eighth grade at Berner Middle School.

“The Massapequa School District has transformed its academic program during the last 10 years,” Ms. Perrino told The Massapequan Observer. “As a board member, I successfully advocated to expand AP/college level courses, to create literacy and math programs for at risk and special needs students, a full day kindergarten program, to increase athletic, music, art and drama opportunities, and secure the most up-to-date technology throughout the district. Providing our students with highly qualified teachers that instill a strong early childhood foundation which in turn leads to college level courses at the high school in preparation for a highly competitive world is a priority.

“Our biggest challenge will be to preserve this rigorous program in this difficult economic climate with the prospect of less state aid, a 2 percent tax cap and costly mandates from all levels of government. With the support and commitment of our community we have strengthened our financial stability but will need to have greater flexibility and cost-saving initiatives beyond what has been aggressively put in place. Over the years we have kept our employee salaries at Nassau County’s median rate and increased healthcare contributions. Working closely with administration we have cut over $10 million in the last 5 years by re-structuring of our administrative organization, offering retirement incentives to cut payroll, utilizing BOCES services to fund programs at a savings, implementing an Energy Performance contract which has saved us $2.8 million, using cooperative bids to purchase supplies and our strong financial position has saved $2.8 million on interest costs.

“My perspective as a parent, coupled with my long-term business expertise, has assisted me in being an effective board member in the course of reviewing budgets, analyzing data, disseminating information to the community and representing the district effectively,” Ms. Perrino concluded. “We are currently the 4th lowest spending district in the county spending less than 21 percent of the county average with recognition from the state for being administratively cost-effective. Our three-part budget as required by New York State law shows that Administration, which includes all our superintendent/central office administration, legal, auditing and insurance costs amounts to 7.6 of the proposed budget; Capital, which includes our plant operations, maintenance and debt service amounts to 12.5 percent and Program, which includes teaching K-12, special education, curriculum and transportation amounts to 79.9 percent. Our money is going directly into the classrooms for the benefit of our students, keeping the focus on children and education where it should be.”

The school board election will be held on Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at four locations: Massapequa High School, 4925 Merrick Rd.; Lockhart Elementary, 199 Pittsburgh Ave.; Fairfield Middle School, 330 Massapequa Ave.; and McKenna Elementary School, 210 Spruce St.

 

Jane Ryan

 

Jane Ryan is an incumbent school board member running for re-election.

Ms. Ryan is a Certified Public Accountant and both a graduate of Massapequa High School and both SUNY Binghamton and Alfred State College. She is currently president of JE Ryan & Associates, a firm specializing in accounting and consulting for public and private special education schools in funding, compliance and legislative actions. She was first elected to the BOE in 2008. She has a child currently attending the Berner Middle School.

Ms. Ryan told The Massapequan Observer that her educational philosophy is one that, “all children, regardless of capabilities and intelligence, should be afforded the best education and supports in order that they can learn and succeed through life. A successful learning experience includes both the arts & sciences and sports.

“The current school system, with large unfunded mandates and reduced funding from the NYS and Federal governments places unsustainable burdens on school districts and taxpayers,” Ms. Ryan continued, listing the essential elements of any school budget. “A district must continually seek to find efficiencies and reduce costs in order to meet the rising ‘uncontrollable’ costs and decreased funding in order to maintain programs. All of our core education programs, arts & science and sports programs are essential.

“The funding of school districts will be undergoing many complex changes in the next few years. In order to be successful in the navigation, we must have an individual on the Board who understands school finance; works with legislators and can ensure a positive outcome for our school. As a Certified Public Accountant and President of my firm, I work with many schools both public and private and understand how to budget, what is controllable and how to manage to retain our programs. I have the experience and expertise to help ensure continuation of our programs, while working with Albany and the District to reduce costs in order to help alleviate an unsustainable tax burden on our community.”

Ms. Ryan added that she supports the proposed 2011-2012 school budget, noting that it is under Gov. Cuomo’s proposed tax cap of 2 percent, while also maintaining “all of our core education programs, arts & science and sports. In addition, it includes our previous implementation of full day kindergarten and an enhanced security presence throughout the district.” She said that the budget and tax levy increase is the District’s lowest in 12 years.

“The District has utilized reserves, as recommended by the State Comptroller and Governor Cuomo,” she continued. “The budget includes many savings to include the impact of stringent labor negotiations as well as a significant savings from interest costs resulting from an AA2 Moody’s Credit Rating for excellent financial health.”

The school board election will be held on Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at four locations: Massapequa High School, 4925 Merrick Rd.; Lockhart Elementary, 199 Pittsburgh Ave.; Fairfield Middle School, 330 Massapequa Ave.; and McKenna Elementary School, 210 Spruce St.


Gary Bennett

Gary Bennett is a candidate for the Massapequa School Board.

Bennett has lived in the Massapequa School District for the past 30 years. He is now retired from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department. Growing up on Long Island, he attended Syosset High School. Later he attended the University of Minnesota, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in social sciences and legal studies, and where he studied Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, and Education Law.

Bennett and his wife, Denise, have two children, both of whom attended Massapequa schools: Robert, a financial executive and Nadene, who specializes in veterinary medicine.

During his time with the Sheriff’s Department, he was elected to its Union Executive Board. He also served as the Associate Director of the Sheriff’s Community Relations & Education Bureau. Bennett was promoted to the Investigator’s rank in 1989. He was a lecturer on women’s rights, on youth crime, on family violence, and on 5th, 8th and 14th Amendment rights as they related to Juvenile Rehabilitation. He also lectured at a SUNY statewide faculty conference in White Plains, at a Sheriff Association’s statewide conference in Albany, at the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, at Suffolk College, at the South Carolina Police Academy, and at civic groups throughout New York State. Bennett is the recipient of 12 Sheriff Meritorious and Exceptional Service Awards. In Massapequa, he was a member of the Massapequa School Budget and Finance Committee, from 2005-09. Bennett said he is running “as a team” with Carl Hoops, another BOE candidate.

Bennett said he is running for the BOE because “Massapequa has a runaway budget that has allowed for administrative salary costs to explode from $2.9 million in 2003 to over $10 million today, causing severe damage to home values.” He is running to keep not just administrative, but also superintendent salaries under control. “Something must be done to take this district back to sound responsible budgeting,” he told The Massapequan Observer. “I support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to roll back and freeze administrative salaries. This must be done to maintain the current student teacher ratio and protect good teachers from fear of losing their jobs.”

The school board election will be held on Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at four locations: Massapequa High School, 4925 Merrick Rd.; Lockhart Elementary, 199 Pittsburgh Ave.; Fairfield Middle School, 330 Massapequa Ave.; and McKenna Elementary School, 210 Spruce St.


Carl Hoops

Carl Hoops is a candidate for the Massapequa School Board.

A lifelong resident of the Massapequa School District, Hoops, for the past 23 years, has worked as an electrical lineman and emergency service specialist with LIPA, serving the Massapequa community. He is a 1987 graduate of Massapequa High School. He is a member of IBEW Local 1049. Recently, he was selected by a LIPA vice president to redesign safety procedures throughout the company and to oversee new training of high voltage emergency service technicians.

Hoops is a member of the Massapequa Committee for Better Education and Fiscal Responsibility. He has one son currently attending the High School Ames Campus, one stepson at Massapequa High School and one stepdaughter attending a special education program out of the district. Hoops said he is running “as a team” with Gary Bennett, another BOE candidate.

“The most important issue facing our district is the current board giving away exorbitant raises to administration during difficult economic times, while denying additional sports teams to the students,” he told The Massapequan Observer. “The administrative budget has more than tripled in eight years. Administrators and board members need to take into account the needs of the whole community—students, taxpayers, seniors and their staff—-and not just their raises. If elected, I would not lose sight that I represent the whole community, not just select groups. The board is not overseeing the administrators, the administrators are dictating to the board, which is a disservice to the community. I would not be intimidated by the administration and attempt to get this reckless spending under control. I support Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to roll back and freeze administrative salaries.”

The school board election will be held on Tuesday, May 17, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at four locations: Massapequa High School, 4925 Merrick Rd.; Lockhart Elementary, 199 Pittsburgh Ave.; Fairfield Middle School, 330 Massapequa Ave.; and McKenna Elementary School, 210 Spruce St.