Residents approved the East Meadow School District and library budgets after a May 15 vote tallied 2,317 in favor and 699 against. The Board of Education will be getting a new addition and voters also came out in favor of the budget’s propositions Two and Three.
Challenger Eileen Napolitano was elected to the Board of Education with 1,646 votes, unseating Brian O’Flaherty, who received 1,232 votes.
Incumbent Melissa Tell has secured her seat with 1,708 votes, defeating challenger Joseph Danenza, who received 1,157 votes.
Eileen Napolitano has lived in East Meadow since 1999, where she raised her children, Anthony, 20, and Krista, 18. She is a graduate of Longwood High School, and completed an ophthalmic dispensing program at NYC Technical College in Brooklyn. Today Napolitano is an optician with Diamond Vision in Rockville Centre.
A top priority, she said, is providing for the district’s children. She has been president of the Barnum Woods Elementary School PTA, president and vice president of the Woodland Middle School PTA and vice president of the East Meadow High School PTA. She was the 2010 recipient of the PTA Council’s Founders Day award.
Napolitano said that she would like to see the district implement an apprenticeship programs to help students who are uncertain of what they want to do after graduation or looking to go into vocational training.
Melissa Tell was born in East Meadow, earned a degree in visual design from Hunter College and moved back to the community with her husband, Ben. She has been a trustee on the board for four years.
She said she believes in creating policies that boost student achievement while remaining fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. One of them includes the rights of parents to decide what is in the best interest of their children when it comes to the state assessments.
In addition to being a student advocate, Tell said she strongly believes in fostering transparency and promoting community participation in the district. She has previously advocated for board meetings to be recorded.
Both elected board members stressed the important of early intervention with regards to addressing the mental health of students. Tell praised the budget’s addition of Director of Guidance who will work with students as young as sixth-grade to ensure that they receive an education on mental well-being and that those who need help have a way of getting it.
Both elected board members also supported Proposition Three as a means of alleviating the animosity in which designated-seat elections can be mired.
Proposition Two, which passed with 2,218 votes in favor and 730 votes against, will now allow the district to establish its first capital reserve fund with the money left over from its 2018-19 budget.
Proposition Three, which passed with 1,672 votes in favor and 1,276 votes against, will now alter the board election process. Under the former voting process, new candidates specify the incumbents against whom they wish to run. The new system, called at-large voting, will pit all candidates against one another for all open seats.