Voters to decide NHP-GCP ed board candidates, fate of $36.8 million budget proposal

James Galloway

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District ballot next week will include measures on the district’s $36.8 million budget proposal, the Hillside Public Library budget proposal and three Board of Education seats — including a contested race between incumbent Frank Miranda and challenger Jennifer DeRocchis.

The ballot will also include a referendum on Sewanhaka’s $179 million budget proposal.

If passed, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park’s $36.8 million budget would be 1.99 percent, or about $719,000, higher than the current 2014-15 budget. The tax levy would increase by 0.9 percent, about $265,000, to $29.8 million.

On the school board, trustees David Del Santo and James Reddan are both running unopposed, while DeRocchis, a former Parent Teacher Association vice president, will appear opposite incumbent Frank Miranda for the third seat.

The Hillside Public Library budget proposal would increase spending by 0.87 percent, or less than $27,000, to $3.1 million. The tax levy would increase by $21,350, or 0.72 percent, to $3 million.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 19 at the Manor Oaks School library.

The budget would maintain all current programming at the district and avoid staff layoffs once again. New Hyde Park-Garden City Park was one of few districts to survive the economic downturn without any teacher layoffs.

If passed, the budget would allow the district to replace outdated technology, including printers, projectors and 350 computers. It would also allow the district to buy new SMART boards.

According to the district’s budget presentation, the average tax bill in the district would be $3,166.18 if the budget proposal were to pass. If it were to fail to achieve a 50 percent majority, the contingency budget would drop the average tax bill to $3,138.05 — a difference of $28 for the average taxpayer, but a significant difference to the district.

In the race for the contested Board of Education seat, Miranda, a 23-year resident of the Village of New Hyde Park, said his job as an information technology specialist at Nassau BOCES keeps him informed of what other districts are doing and informs his own work on the board.

“Working at BOCES gives me an advantage,” he said. “Being a tech for Nassau BOCES for the last 17 years before we had remote access to all the schools, I had to visit almost every school in Nassau County for tech support. I have seen many different situations and met many people from superintendents to cleaners and all in between.”

DeRocchis, a graduate of Hillside Grade School and New Hyde Park Memorial High School, said she her son attends New Hyde Park Memorial and her daughter is at Manor Oaks and that having children in the district would be an advantage.

“If I were to pick a time to serve on the board, I think it would be a good time to be while my daughter is in grammar school,” she said. “I feel like now, especially with everything that’s going on with Common Core, it’s important to have parents on the board that have children in the school district.”

Miranda’s children have graduated from New Hyde Park-Garden City Park, which only includes elementary schools. New Hyde Park Memorial, the middle and high school, is part of the Sewanhaka school district.

DeRocchis said that, if elected, her priorities would be small class sizes and the health and safety of the students. Like many parents, she also has concerns about the Common Core testing, though she recognizes that is controlled by the state.

“I just feel this is a very difficult time for parents, students and teachers,” she said.

Miranda said his experience — he served on the board from 2004 to 2007 and rejoined it in 2012 after winning an uncontested election — would be an advantage for him on the board.

Miranda said his experience would give him an advantage over DeRocchis and that

“I really feel we have a good board, a diverse board…I know the people on the board, and I see them often. I know how they think, they know how I think, and we all know our strengths,” he said. “I would have the upper hand over someone that is just coming in.”

Del Santo, who is seeking a fourth three-year term, is one of two board members from New Hyde Park-Garden City Park to sit on the Sewanhaka  Board of Education. The Sewanhaka board comprises two representatives from each of its four feeder elementary school districts.

Del Santo, an ex-policeman and auditor for the Department of Homeland Security, serves as vice president on both boards.

The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park board appointed Reddan to his seat in 2014 following the resignation of then-Vice President Patricia Rudd, who relocated to Michigan.

Reddan, a civil engineer who grew up in Garden City Park, had initially lost an election to Trustee Jennifer Kerrane in 2013.

However, he remained active with the district and joined the audit committee before being appointed.

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