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Seaford budget, reserve fund proposition pass; Parisi wins board election

A perfect storm for lowest voter turnouts in 15 years

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The Seaford School District’s proposed 2018-19 budget passed with nearly 75 percent of the vote — 1,117 residents voted yes and 375 voted no — while 1,082 out of 1,465 taxpayers approved of the district’s $20 million capital reserve fund proposal.

The 2018-19 budget is just over $68.4 million — a 2.62 percent increase over the 2017-18 budget — and will increase the tax levy by 2.69 percent. In a statement provided to the Seaford Herald-Citizen, Seaford Superintendent Dr. Adele Pecora thanked the Seaford community for supporting a budget that will enhance academic programs, increase technology used for instruction and upgrade facilities.

"The budget also allows us to further improve our security procedures,” Pecora added, “as the safety of our students and staff is of paramount importance."

As for the $20 million general capital reserve fund, it will be created from budget surpluses of no more than $2 million a year for 10 years. According to the district’s budget presentation, the fund will be used for renovations around the district, such as improvements and repairs for school bathrooms, locker rooms and cafeterias.

Along with passing the Seaford School District’s proposed 2018-19 school budget and capital reserve fund by an overwhelming margin, Seaford taxpayers voted in Andrea Parisi, a 37-year-old reading teacher, onto the Seaford Board of Education over incumbent Patrick Rail 905-482.

Parisi has a child at the Manor Elementary School and another who will enter kindergarten at Manor in the fall. She grew up in Wantagh while her husband, a Long Island Broncos Head coach, grew up in Seaford.

Inclement weather troubles voting public

This year’s Seaford School District budget vote turnout of 1,492 residents marked the lowest turnout in 15 years for the district. According to the New York State Education Department, the 2018 budget vote turnout is less than half of that of 2012’s turnout, when over 3,000 taxpayers voted for the first budget made under the state’s new tax cap law.

Voting opened at 7 a.m. and closed at 9 p.m. in both districts. Theoretically, the extended time period gives taxpayers who work a 9-5 work schedule some flexibility to vote around their day. Parents of Seaford Manor Elementary School children could even find time to vote after attending the school’s Curriculum Night at 7 p.m.

Unfortunately, those who went to vote after working hours were also greeted by a flash storm. The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning around 2:30 p.m. that lasted until 6:15 p.m., with voters having to dart through heavy rain from their cars to polling locations throughout the evening.

There is no official statement about the inclement weather’s effects on voter turnout.