Lynbrook’s education budget passed for the upcoming academic year, and it wasn’t even close.
More than 1,200 votes were cast in favor of the $101.8 million plan, representing 77 percent of the vote.
East Rockaway’s $43.9 million education budget passed as well, with 69 percent of the vote.
East Rockaway’s budget is a little more than 3 percent higher than last year’s, and includes a tax levy of just under 2 percent. The budget will allow the district to provide courses like financial algebra, Advanced Placement research, and Spanish 3 Heritage.
Other budget items would fund a school counselor, a full-time social worker, an elementary special education teacher and flag football.
Lynbrook’s budget is nearly $5 million more than last year’s, and prepares for the upcoming loss of federal and state Covid-19 financial support. The plan has a tax levy limit of 2.6 percent, or $75 million.
The budget is expected to allow Lynbrook educators to provide courses in AP pre-calculus, business law, and fifth-grade health. It also fully integrates programs that had previously depended on state aid, including Owl Success Academy.
Other priorities include an elementary school lunch program and increased funding for assemblies and field trip transportation.
The margin of victory for the Lynbrook budget impressed Paul Lynch, who is succeeding Melissa Burak as Lynbrook superintendent in June: “77 percent, that’s just incredible. The confidence the community has in our school system is just overwhelming.”
The three Lynbrook education board seats were won by incumbents Tara Aragona, Patrick Pelleschi and Ellen Marcus. Not making it was Jennifer Saia, who received 699 votes.
Marcus, as the third-elected candidate, will fill the shorter term created when David Baker vacated his seat last year. That was Aragona’s position, but as the top vote-getter Tuesday, she’ll now occupy a full-term seat.
“It feels good,” Aragona said. “I’m excited that I can continue to be a voice for the community. I appreciate everybody’s support.”
“I feel like the community has confirmed their belief in me,” Pelleschi said. “We’re hopeful we can continue the work we’ve been doing.”
For the East Rockaway board, Dineen Cilluffo and Aspasia “Ozzie” Lonergan ran unopposed and won their seats with 384 and 399 votes respectively.
Along with the budget, East Rockaway voters passed propositions allowing $70,000 to fund upgrades for smart classrooms, computer hardware, and networks, as well as devote $313,000 toward restoration of the deteriorated cupola at the junior/senior high school.
Lynbrook residents also voted on three additional propositions, all of which passed. That includes $464,000 to fund new wiring and replace devices. A $2.5 million five-year plan to renovate and upgrade of district grounds. And another $1.8 million to fund replacement doors for Marion Street and West End, the renovation of the high school elevator, and a new bathroom and blacktop for South Middle.
To Lynch, the budget and prepositions passing is proof that the community stands behind their children’s education.
“We’re a community,” Lynch said. “As long as we stick together, we’re going to be fine. Tonight’s definitely evidence of that. I thank everyone who came out.”