Along with voting on the operating budget for the 2022-2023 school year and choosing between four Board of Education candidates for two seats, Seaford residents are also being asked to approve Proposition 2 on May 17, which calls for approving the use of up to $4.5 million for a multi-purpose turf athletic field.
The proposed budget is $77.396 million that translates into an increase of $2.679 million or 3.58 percent above the current fiscal plan 74.717. The tax levy – the amount of money the school district collects from property taxes – is projected at $57.240. Up $1.368 million or 2.245 percent from the 2021-2022 budget.
District officials said that the $1.138 million boost in state from the current package of $14.961 million will be absorbed by the jump in operating costs, especially transportation (a hike of $691,000), health insurance ($400,00) and utilities ($47,000).
In the race for trustee incumbent Trustee Kevin Devlin is running for his second three-year term. For the past two years he has served as the board’s vice president. Bruce Kahn stepped down from the board. With another seat open Lisa Herbert, Heather Umhafer and Ben Vogt joined the race. In the at-large election the two top vote-getters win the seats.
Devlin, 30, a lifelong Seaford resident, highlighted the district’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as one the board’s accomplishments he is most proud of in his term.
“We were one of the few districts in the entire state that was able to provide in-person learning for all students when most districts, even on Long Island, could only provide hybrid or online models,” he wrote in an email. Devlin is Rep. Kathleen Rice’s director of community outreach.
Herbert, 42, a mother of two children at Harbor Elementary School, is a PTA mom and a commercial litigator. She also served on the district’s Reopening of Schools Task Force Committee.
“I’ve been advocating for parental choice, for the well being of our children, especially for their social emotional and psychological choice, and a return to normalcy in our schools, said the daughter of a teacher.
Umhafer, 44, owns Downstage Dance and the lifelong Seaford resident graduated from Seaford High School in 1995. She said she would like to see an increase in opportunities for students in the performing arts and aims to “fully restore pre-pandemic activities” throughout the district.
“I will also continue to fight for parental choice as we transition into the endemic stages of Covid,” she wrote in an email, adding that the children come first and fiscal responsibility is vital, and parental involvement at all educational levels is key for student success.
Vogt, 51, said he thinks that some students could be falling through the cracks as his motivation to run was jump started when his son was admitted to a special education program that Vogt thought his son, a freshman in high school, was entitled to enter.
“I feel disenfranchised with the current that slighted my son, and if he is falling through the cracks, others are falling through the cracks, he said in a phone interview. If elected, the executive director of development for fundraising at Hofstra University said he would work to increase the district’s accountability.
Should Proposition 2 be approved, the district would construct a baseball, softball and multi-purpose field at the high school. If the proposition is not approved, the money that was allocated toward dugouts will be applied for the work on the additional bathroom improvements at Seaford Manor and Harbor elementary schools.