The results are in, and voters have said yes to the East Meadow School District’s budget for the 2023-24 academic year. But they’ve said no to board president Alisa Baroukh, who lost her seat to newcomers Jessica Ricco-Simeone and David Carl, who have been chosen at-large to serve on the education board as trustees.
“Tonight was definitely nerve-racking waiting for the results to come in,” Ricco-Simeone said as final votes were coming in at the Salisbury Center. “The entire process was something where I learned a lot about myself. I knew what I was running for. I believed in myself. I stayed true to myself my entire campaign.”
The 34-year-old — a lifelong Salisbury resident — received the most votes of the five candidates with 2,165. Carl, 40, came in second with 1,845 votes.
Baroukh received 1,792 votes, while Shaun Weissman and Phil Servider trailed with 1,633 and 376, respectively.
Ricco-Simeone has been an educator in the Westbury School District for more than a decade. Throughout her campaign, she said she would promote the success of every student, and provide the compassion and experience necessary to support our teachers and parents.
Ricco-Simeone says she understands the importance of collaboration be-tween students, parents, teachers and community groups.
“I’m very proud of what I did,” Ricco-Simeone said. “I’m very glad that people decided to vote for the teacher that’s here for education. Who is pro-students, pro-teacher. And I can’t wait to do the job.”
Carl, 40, is the bureau chief for the deputy county attorney, focused on social services. Throughout his campaign, he said that he would bring improved management, financial accountability and transparency to the board. He was also vocal about re-establishing the once strong board-community partnership.
“I’m just very happy, and I’m very happy that the district is going to see a new day,” Carl said. “I wish the best to everybody who ran, and I thank everyone for participating and being active voters.”
Also getting approved was the East Meadow school district budget, topping out at nearly $238 million. That’s 4 percent more than last year, but is triggering a tax levy increase of less than 3 percent. Out of 4,058 votes cast, only 1,310 said “no.”
Under this budget, both the present and the future are in mind, officials said. The budget accounts for inflation, rising health insurance premiums, among other things. There’s room for more teachers if needed on the elementary level and the secondary level.
This wiggle room helps within a district that is growing, with nearly 100 new students coming to the district every year.
The 2023-24 budget maintains class sizes within district guidelines, provides continuing professional staff development, and continues implementation of technology initiatives. It allows for capital programs for health and safety concerns, and provides for a sports field maintenance program and new equipment.
The budget maintains the current instructional and co-curricular programs in kindergarten through 12th grade. It also allows for the continued integration of the co-teaching program in the elementary level that was introduced to the district.
ICT classrooms consist of a general education teacher and a special education teacher providing instruction together to students who have learning disabilities and those who don’t.
Capital improvements are set for all district buildings, including the Salisbury Center in some capacity.
Barnum Woods will have maintenance done. Bowling Green Elementary School will get a new basketball court and tarmac, along with new flags. At Meadowbrook Elementary School, two full-size classrooms will be divided into four small-group instructional spaces. Parkway Elementary School will get an extended parking lot. McVey Elementary School will have six renovated bathrooms and repaired classroom doors.
Woodland Middle School will get upgraded auditorium lighting and ceiling tiles. Clarke Middle School will have new auditorium lighting installed, along with additional classrooms, and renovations to the technology wood shop rooms.
Clarke High School will have alterations done to the library, repaired gym bleachers, and upgraded auditorium lighting. East Meadow High School will get new curbing and renovated gym locker rooms.