Written by Joe Scotchie Friday, 07 May 2010 00:00
Over 100 people traveled to the East Hills School to attend a Meet the Candidates Night for the Roslyn School District Board of Education race.
Incumbents Stanley Stern and Kim Hunter, along with challengers Elizabeth Kellogg and Valauri, gave presentations and answered audience questions, ones that mostly pertained to budgetary, but also safety issues.
Prudent finances are the order of the day among school district budgets and so candidates were asked, first, about the need to spend money for a cafeteria renovation. All of the candidates, with the exception of Ms. Kellogg, approved of the investment. Stern said such renovation was necessary to keep a $300,000 grant, one that would help to alleviate a deficit that has occurred as a result of the lunch program. Ms. Kellogg claimed that now is not the “right time to spend money fixing a cafeteria.”
Cafeteria funding then turned into a debate about keeping young people on campus during lunchtime and whether or not Roslyn High School should instead become a closed campus. Stanley Stern and Ms. Kellogg both approved the latter idea, with Stern adding that there should be more discussion on the matter. Noting the number of students that are out during lunch, Ms. Kellogg, who lives in the high school neighborhood, said she gets nervous every time she hears a siren going off in the daytime. For her part, Ms. Hunter said the high school should create a “semi college” atmosphere that would allow students to do homework during lunchtime, thus giving them a reason for staying on campus. Bruce Valauri said that school officials should work with students to find common ground on such an issue.
The candidates were also asked about any budget initiatives they might offer. Bruce Valauri complimented the current BOE for the budgets it has produced over the past several years. Ms. Kellogg said the BOE should consider consolidating some services, including transportation, with neighboring districts. She also said the college application review process should begin much earlier than the junior year, an initiative that Ms. Hunter agreed with. Stanley Stern praised recent budgets for their transparency, for modest tax levy increases, instructional programs, work opportunities for students, and for providing for such internal repairs as fixing leaky roofs, plus a new football field and new auditoriums.
The candidates also debated the idea of presenting year-to-date actual budgets. Most of the candidates endorsed the current process of building a budget from “ground zero” and also constructing one with needs for a time period of 3-5 years in mind. Again, Ms. Kellogg dissented, claiming that budgets need to be reconsidered and rethought in a different way.
The vote on the budget for the 2010-2011 school year will take place on Tuesday, May 18 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Roslyn High School. The following will be on the ballot:
• The Roslyn School District’s proposed budget for the 2010-11 school year of $95,816,235. The budget-to-budget increase is 1.12 percent, and the estimated average tax increase is 0.66 percent.
• The Bryant Library’s proposed budget for 2010-11. Details of the Library budget can be obtained by visiting www.nassaulibrary.org/bryant or by calling the Library at 621-2240.
• Voters are asked to approve a transfer of $3,000,000 from the Capital Reserve Fund for new capital projects with no tax increase.
• Election of two board trustees. Individuals who have filed petitions to be candidates in the order in which they will appear on the ballot are Kim Hunter, Stanley Stern, Elizabeth Kellogg, and Bruce G. Valauri.
Call 801-5030 for additional budget information, or visit the district’s website at www.roslynschools.org.
To vote in a school election, an individual must be:
1. A U.S. citizen
2. 18 years old by election day
3. A resident in the Roslyn School District for at least 30 days by election day.
4. Registered to vote.
If you have not voted in a Roslyn School District election or general election within the last four years, or are a new resident and have not registered to vote with the Board of Elections, you must register in advance to vote in the election and budget vote which will take place on Tuesday, May 18. No person shall be entitled to vote unless qualified to vote pursuant to law. Call the district clerk at 801-5002 for voter information.
An Absentee Ballot application and instructions are available at the district’s web site, www.roslynschools.org/code/ absentee.htm. Applications for ballots must be received by May 11 if by mail, by May 17 if delivered in person. Call the District Clerk at 801-5002 for assistance.