It’s a three-way race for two seats on the Springs School Board, where district residents will head to the polls on Tuesday to elect two candidates and vote on next year’s proposed budget.
Adam Wilson, Jeff Miller and Martin Drew Jr. are running for seats that will be vacated by School Board President Kathee Burke Gonzalez and board member Teresa Schurr, who will not be seeking reelection to another three-year term.
District residents will be asked to approve a $25.4 million budget for next year, a spending increase of about 3.18-percent, or $782,380, from this year’s figure. School officials estimate the property tax rate to increase by 3.37-percent to $91.97 per $100 of assessed valuation.
Adam Wilson, 49, said he was approached by some members of the community to run because of the work he’s done in the community. Mr. Wilson is the vice president of the East Hampton Little League and has been a board member for the last four years.
Mr. Wilson said he sees growing classroom sizes as an important issue. He wants to work on how to address that from a learning and teaching perspective.
“One of the biggest challenges we face is a growing school population,” Mr. Wilson said. “That’s no mystery to anyone who lives in Springs.”
He also said he’s interested in technology upgrades. “From the outside looking in, I don’t think we’re ready for the online testing requirements the state is mandating,” he said.
Finally, Mr. Wilson said he’s interested in looking at “creative ways” of funding school initiatives by getting the community involved.
Mr. Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in communications/liberal arts from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. He works in telecommunications as a channel sales manager for a company called CallCopy.
Mr. Wilson lives with his wife, Mary McPartland, and their son, Andrew Wilson, who attends the Springs School.
Jeff Miller, 42, is a lifelong Springs resident, whose roots go back 12 generations in East Hampton.
He said he’d like to tackle documentation of district residents, noting there are rumors that students who don’t actually live in the district are receiving an education at Springs School. “We have a population problem here,” he said.
Mr. Miller said he’s running because he has a “vested interest” in the school. His daughter, Gabby, is in second grade. His stepdaughter Rachel Overton attends the East Hampton High School. His wife, Michelle Miller, is the vice president of the Springs School PTA.
Mr. Miller has been a member of the Springs Fire Department for more than 24 years, including spending seven years in various chiefs positions. He’s also a deputy fire coordinator for Suffolk County. He serves on the Springs Youth Association board and has helped coach Little League in the past.
“I feel it will be beneficial for the community that a person of my background serves on the board because I can help review and tweak our current emergency plans if necessary,” Mr. Miller said in a written biography. “I also would like to see us review documentation procedures for attending our fantastic school. I do not claim to have all the answers and this will be a learning process, but am willing to listen to any suggestions and would be honored to serve the citizens of Springs in continuing making Springs School a place I know and love.”
Martin A. Drew Jr.
Mr. Drew, 47, is a resident of the Maidstone Park Beach area of Springs. He said he’s running to help make Springs School a better neighbor.
Mr. Drew said he’s concerned about the parking on School Street in front of the school, something he views as a “blight,” and wants to find a way to mitigate that.
He said he’s also concerned by an exploding school population that is linked to an increase in families living more than one to a home. He said he’s interested in establishing a new “verification system” to ensure Springs School is educating students who “are properly registered and entitled to be here.” In his view, every family would re-register with the school to prove they reside within the district.
Mr. Drew said he’s also interested in pursuing school consolidation, noting that there are “too many power structures in this community, and they’re costing us way too much.”
Mr. Drew said he was motivated by the parking issue. “What got me involved down here was my quaint little school has all of a sudden turned into a parking lot,” he said.
Mr. Drew said he is a builder by trade. According to his resume, he was self-employed as a framer from 1988 to 2007. Before that, he participated in local government, helping fashion East Hampton Town’s Comprehensive Plan. He said he’s an advocate of affordable housing.
The three candidates were expected to participate in a meet the candidates forum Tuesday night at the school, sponsored by the PTA.
Next Tuesday, residents can cast their ballots for School Board and the budget between 1 and 9 p.m. at the Springs School.