Eastern Southampton school boards candidates revealed

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Six candidates have announced that they will run for two openings on the Southampton School Board in the May 20 election, and races are also shaping up in Bridgehampton, where one board member is pressing ahead with his efforts to close the high school, as well as Sag Harbor.

Monday was the deadline for candidates to file nominating petitions.

In Southampton, incumbent Laura Sinski-McMahon is seeking reelection to a five-year term. There is also an opening to complete the last three years of the term of Paul Mayo, who resigned.

Ms. Sinski-McMahon’s challengers include Anastasia Gavalas, Daniel Claud, Donna Bennett, Michelle Johnson and Christina Strassfield.

Besides the proposed $53.2 million budget, there will be four propositions on the ballot. Voters will be asked to permit the School Board to use $610,000 of capital reserve funds to improve buildings and install Smartboards, which are interactive whiteboards, for classrooms, though the proposition notes the district expects to be reimbursed for the expenditure with state and federal aid. Voters will also have the option of approving $360,000 for the Southampton Youth Association for a recreation program, $326,509 to the Parrish Art Museum, and $58,000 to the Southampton Historical Society.

The Bridgehampton School Board race promises to be a heated one. Incumbents Elizabeth Kotz, the board’s vice president, and Joe Conti are both seeking three-year terms. Mr. Conti signed a petition last month that seeks to place a controversial referendum on the ballot to close the high school, leading two officers of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, President Nicki Hemby and Secretary Karen Hochstedler, to run for the board in an effort to defeat him.

Voters will also be asked to approve a $9.9 million budget.

The board has not yet voted on whether it will include the referendum on the high school closure on the ballot.

Four candidates are competing for three seats on the Sag Harbor School Board this year. Terms are for three years. Current board Vice President Anne Mackesey is stepping down from her position, leaving first-time incumbents Dan Hartnett and board President Theresa Samot seeking reelection on the board. Mary Anne Miller, a local parent who was defeated last year in her bid for the board by newcomer Wes Frye, is running again this year.

New to the scene, Noyac Civic Council member John Daniels makes his first appearance on the ballot this election.

Voters will be asked to approve a $28.5 million budget. There will also be a referendum to allow the district to spend $298,000 in state aid that is already on hand for capital improvements, including a security system and upgrades to heating and ventilation systems.

Tuckahoe School Board Chairman Robert Grisnik is running unopposed for reelection. Mr. Grisnik will run at-large for a seat on the board, and the trio of board members—rounded out by Vice Chairwoman Sharon Grindle and Trustee Susan Riccardi—will pick new leaders at their organizational meeting in July.

Besides the budget of just under $15 million, Tuckahoe voters will be asked to approve $50,000 for the school’s participation in the Southampton Youth Association, and $7,868 for the Parrish Art Museum. A third proposition concerns busing for students in grades nine through 12 to Southampton and Westhampton Beach high schools. Voters will decide whether or not to continue the busing service.

In Sagaponack, School Board President Charles Barbour is running unopposed. There are no propositions on the ballot, and the board has not yet set a final budget proposal.

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