Area board of education election cycles begin

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Residents interested in running for their local school boards had until Monday to file their petitions with their respective school districts. Candidates will be seeking election on Tuesday, May 20, the same day that taxpayers can vote on their school budgets.

Incumbent Westhampton Beach School Board members Greg Frost, who has served on the board since 1998, and Joyce Donneson, originally elected in 2001, are both seeking reelection next month. They will be challenged by Halsey Stevens, a lieutenant in the Westhampton Beach Fire Department. Terms are for five years.

Hampton Bays School Board President George Leeman will seek to retain his seat next month as well. Eric Casale, the principal of Springs School in East Hampton Town, will oppose him. The open seat is for a three-year term.

There will also be a proposition on the ballot to approve the use of up to $300,000 of undesignated, unreserved funds for “repairs or upgrades to facilities and grounds.”

In Eastport South Manor, incumbent School Board members Vincent Sweeney and Janet Stevens are both seeking reelection. Mr. Sweeney, the director of engineering for a global sales and marketing research company, and Ms. Stevens, a registered nurse, are being challenged by Richard R. Kohn, a paramedic. All three candidates live in Manorville and both open seats are for three-year terms.

Two of five board seats are up for grabs in East Quogue, and only one is being defended by an incumbent. Mario Cardaci, the board’s vice president, is seeking reelection, though President Roberta Shoten did not file a nominating petition to run again. East Quogue Parent Teacher Association President Patricia Tuzzolo and district resident Donna Kijowski will also appear on the ballot. Both are running for the first time.

East Quogue voters will also be asked to approve $480,539 for the Suffolk Cooperative Library System, and they will also have the option of extending East Quogue’s five-year contract with the Westhampton Beach School District. If approved, East Quogue will continue to send its seventh through 12th grade students to Westhampton Beach schools through the 2012-2013 academic year.

In Remsenburg/Speonk, longtime School Board member Thomas Kerr is running unopposed for his fifth term of office on the five-member board. The school was closed this week so it is not known if any other candidates filed before the Monday deadline. First elected in 1996, Mr. Kerr is employed with Hentschel Insurance in Westhampton. The open term is for three years.

On Quogue’s five-member School Board, one three-year term is up. Larry Berman, who was appointed in March to complete the term of Patricia Malabre, is seeking election. It was unclear whether he would be opposed or if there will be any propositions on the ballot, because school was out of session this week.

And in Riverhead there are seven candidates, including three incumbents, who are seeking election next month. School Board members W. Brian Stark, who has been on the board since 2005, Nancy G. Gassert, a member since 1996, and Kathleen Berezny, who has been on the board since 2002, are seeking reelection. They will be challenged by four candidates: Sal Mastropaolo, Mario Carrera, Gregory Myer and Ann Cotton-Degrasse. All open terms on the seven-member board are for three years.

In addition to the budget, district residents will cast ballots on a $375,000 proposition that asks permission to tap money from the district’s capital reserve fund to remove an oil tank near the district’s bus barn. The removal is required by state law and will not affect district taxes, according to Superintendent Diane B. Scricca.

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