Residents passed the 2017-18 budgets for the Wantagh, Seaford and Levittown school districts on May 16, in addition to supporting a slew of ballot propositions and board of education candidates.
The Levittown School District takes in northern parts of Wantagh and Seaford. Residents of all three communities passed the district’s $210.2 million budget by a vote of 1,511 to 627.
Levittown’s 2017-18 spending plan includes a 1.14 percent tax levy increase. Dr. Tonie McDonald, the district’s superintendent, said that the plan maintains and enhances many initiatives, including the one-to-one tablet initiative, AP Capstone Program, the World Language Program and the implementation of a summer science camp.
Three candidates ran for three seats on the Levittown Board of Education: Mike Pappas, Dillon Cain and Jennifer Messina. Pappas was re-elected, garnering 1,406 votes. Messina and Cain, two new comers, received 1,204 and 991 votes, respectively.
Levittown voters also passed two ballot propositions. The first calls for the creation of a $25 million capital reserve fund, which officials said would allow them to improve facilities. The passage of second proposition will allow the district to draw $14.5 million from another capital reserve fund that was established by voters in 2013.
Administrators said that they would renovate the auditorium at MacArthur High School, upgrade the track at Division Avenue High School, replace the turf fields at both high schools and pursue construction projects that would improve the flow of traffic across the district. The establishment and use of capital reserve funds does not impact the tax levy, they added.
Seaford School District voters also passed ballot propositions, including one that will expand bus service. The other allows the district to sell 2,500 square feet of land, which administrators said borders Harbor Elementary School and “is not useable to the district.”
Exactly 1,114 residents supported the transportation proposition, while 467 voted against it. Because it passed, the district is now required to offer busing to all students who live eight-tenths of a mile or more away from the middle or high school.
The Seaford budget was passed by a vote of 1,248 to 347. The $66.5 million spending plan includes a 1.72 percent tax levy increase. Superintendent Brian Conboy said he was grateful to the community for their overwhelming support.
In addition to voting on the budget and propositions, residents supported both Board of Education candidates. Incumbent Stacie Stark, a lifelong Seaford resident, was re-elected. Natalie Pedisich, who has lived in Seaford for 18 years, will also join the board. Pedisich, who has two daughters who graduated from Seaford schools and a younger daughter who is a junior at the high school, is a teacher at Massapequa High School.
Wantagh School District residents elected two newcomers to the Board of Education: Liz Guber and Adam Fisher. Guber, who received 1,341 votes, and Fisher, who earned 1,249 votes, bested incumbents Michael Cucci (988) and Ann-Marie Sturniolo (892).
Guber, 41, has lived in Wantagh for nine years. She has two children who are students at Forest Lake, where she has been an active PTA leader. She is also a member of the Wantagh Elementary PTA and serves on the board of the Wantagh Special Education PTA.
Guber, who has degrees in accounting and computer information systems, has worked as a risk-consulting manager for Deloitte & Touche and as an internal audit manager at Coach. When she had children, she decided to start her own business — G&M Tax, a professional services business focused on serving individuals and small businesses with tax-related matters. She has also served on the district’s audit committee.
Fisher, 35, who has lived in Wantagh for four years, is the director of the tax practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and is both a certified public accountant and attorney. He has two pre-school-aged children who will attend Forest Lake. His wife, Haylee, is a teacher at the Rosemary Kennedy School, in Wantagh, which is designed for students with moderate to severe developmental disabilities.
Wantagh voters also approved of the district’s $76.9 million 2017-18 spending plan by a vote of 1,888 to 441. The budget includes a $223,816, or 0.4 percent, tax levy increase.
Because the budget passed, all Wantagh Middle School students will receive Chromebooks, and they will have the chance to take new courses in music theory and technology in a new lab. The spending plan also calls for the creation of several new courses at Wantagh High School, including Introduction to Coding, Advanced Printmaking, Animation and Advanced Placement Research. On the elementary level, STEAM — or science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics — initiatives would expand.