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Budget Passes

Three new trustees for North Shore

In a hotly contested election, three trustees were chosen on May 21 to serve on the North Shore School Board next year, out of the six candidates vying for the positions.

Michael Nightingale, Sara Jones and Marianne Russo, who was defeated last year, will join the board of education in the new term that begins in July. Incumbent George Pombar, as well as Tim Madden and James O’Sullivan, were defeated.

“Now that the budget has passed and the election is over, I am looking forward to working with the board of education and the community with its many civic organizations, to prevail upon Albany to reduce the unfunded state mandates and to increase state aid to our district,” said Russo. “The results of this election send a clear signal that the community is concerned about the rising tax burden it faces in light of the LIPA plant closing. It is imperative that the board of education, working in conjunction with the administration, seeks to find savings while maintaining the highest possible quality of education. It will be extremely challenging to accomplish these goals, but I am confident that, working together, this community, this administration and this board of education, can achieve great things.”

The school budget of $93,985,568.58 passed by about 500 votes; this will mean a 3.5 percent tax increase for district residents. Most of the increase comes from state-mandated costs, including pensions and health care. No programs or staff members will be cut.

“I congratulate all of the candidates for stepping up to the plate and volunteering to serve the community during this difficult time of transition,” Russo added. “It is never easy to put oneself out there and offer to serve. Congratulations to Michael Nightingale and Sara Jones on their success in the election.  I look forward to serving with them on the board of education.”

“This year more than ever, we had a great pool of candidates and the largest voter turnout in years, and as a result, the community as a whole was more informed about the issues and more informed about the candidates and their platforms, and I expect that to be the new standard going forward,” said Nightingale. “As the LIPA tax is approaching and state mandates are heavily burdening our quality of education, we all have to work together to keep North Shore School district what is, a great environment for our children and an excellent learning institution. I look forward to working with the current board of education, with the administration and closely with our community members in dealing with the lack of state aid and the rising tax burden, while finding ways to maintain the quality of our North Shore education through the recognition of our teachers and our curriculum.”