Two Vie For One Open Seat On Montauk School Board

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Tuesday’s race for Montauk School Board will be a competition between two candidates for the seat currently held by longtime board member Terry Watson, who is stepping down.

Montauk School District residents will also be asked to vote on a proposed 2013-14 school budget of $18.7 million, an increase of $180,882 from this year’s budget of $18.5 million. The tax rate would climb from about $53.29 per $100 of assessed valuation to $54.57 per $100. The budget stays within a New York State-manded 2-percent tax levy cap.

Montauk residents Honora Herlihy and Lee White are both running for a five-year term on the School Board.

Ms. Herlihy, 41, who formerly owned the boutique store the Montauk Carriage House, said curriculum and school safety are two important issues she’d like to work on if elected. She’s also interested in testing, budgeting, school-parent relationships and community concerns.

“If anything, I would like to help bring some new ideas, to be another voice for the parents to the school,” Ms. Herlihy.

Curriculum “comes first,” Ms. Herlihy said. She said she wants to make sure school programs are “strong and great.” School safety is a “hot topic” right now, Ms. Herlihy said, particularly in light of the Sandy Hook massacre.

“I’m sure that safety can be improved at all schools at this point,” she said.

Ms. Herlihy has been a member of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce for the last decade and has been a Montauk Cub Scout leader for the last three years. She earned a bachelor’s degree in production management textiles from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She also has an associate degree in fashion buying merchandise from FIT and an associate degree in business from SUNY Cobleskill.

Ms. Herlihy lives with her husband, Gerald Herlihy, and their children, Aydin, who is in third grade, and Paige, who is in kindergarten.

Mr. White, who was dealing with a personal situation, could not be reached by phone for an interview this week. In an email, the 47-year-old said he’s running because he wants to be more deeply involved with his children’s education. He has two children, Andy, 5, and Jolee, 3, with his wife Mary Jo Walker.

“I would like to be an advocate for the kids and education,” Mr. White said. “In the past few years, due to fiscal constraints and the 2-percent tax cap, the talk is usually what can be cut instead of how can we achieve the best for the kids while working within those constraints.”

Mr. White, who also serves on the East Hampton Zoning Board of Appeals, also works for Lycke Home Service, a property management business. He works as an assistant appraiser, and is the process of getting his real estate appraisal license. He also works at the Harvest on Fort Pond restaurant.

The budget vote and School Board election will take place in the Montauk School gym between 2 and 8 p.m.

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