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School, library budgets pass in Rockville Centre

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Residents of Rockville Centre voted in favor of the $122.86 million budget for the 2020-21 school year, which passed by a vote of 3,629 to 2,275. The budget represents a tax levy increase of 2.01 percent, is under the tax cap, and keeps all current programs.

Tara Hackett was reelected to the Board of Education for a second term, and was the top vote-getter with 3,846 votes. Christine Ferazani was also elected to the board, with 2,904 votes, beating candidates Greg Spaulding and Joe Hunsberger.

“I am thrilled and honored to have been re-elected to the Board of Education, and thank the community for their support and for also passing our school budget,” Hackett said. “I plan to continue our efforts in on-boarding our new superintendent and leading the district into the next generation of education. Keeping our children as the primary focus of our decision-making and goal-setting will continue to be my top priority. Serving my community is an honor and privilege that I value and regard highly. Thank you for your support.”

“I am grateful for the support of my neighbors,” Ferazani said. “The Rockville Centre School District will be facing several challenges in the coming years, from potential reductions in state aid to negotiations with our teachers and administrators’ unions. I look forward to serving as the voice of the village taxpayers, parents and students as we face each issue and ensure that the district administration is serving the interests of our children.”

The budget includes capital improvement projects such as roofing repairs at South Side High School, South Side Middle School and Hewitt Elementary School, restroom upgrades at the high school as well as Hewitt, Covert and Watson elementary schools, and sidewalk and curb repairs at Hewitt and Watson.

“In a world turned upside down, it’s remarkable that people in this community realized the importance of education and chose to invest in our children,” Superintendent Dr. William Johnson said, “and that they did so with a loud and clear voice.”

Of the approximately 18,000 ballots received, only about a third were returned – a number that Johnson said was lower than expected, though almost double the usual voter turnout.

“The participation rate was significantly higher than normal,” Johnson said, “and I’m thrilled the community came out to support the education of our children.”

The Rockville Centre Public Library's $3.7 million budget also passed in a vote of 4,117 in favor to 1,754 opposed. Rebecca Nothel, who ran unopposed, was reelected to the board.

"I would like to thank everyone who voted and re-elected me to the Rockville Centre Library Board of Trustees, Nothel said, “and for supporting and passing our library and school budgets."