Hochman, Cunningham, Ames Running for Re-Election to BOE

The three Lindenhurst Board of Education incumbents are running unopposed. Hear what they have to say about the 2012-13 school budget.

Lindenhurst Board of Education members have confirmed they'll be running for re-election this May.

, and have filed their paperwork by the April 16 deadline, and will be running unopposed, according to officials.

Cunningham and Ames, both Lindenhurst residents and former PTA members whose children have come through the school system, will be running for their second terms on the BOE.

"As long as the community supports me, I'm happy to come back," Cunningham told Lindenhurst Patch.

"I think what I bring to the table from my background helps inform what I do on the board and brings value," added Cunningham, an educator working in Manhattan who holds a degree in education and administration.

"I look forward to continuing the work I've done on the board for the past three years" Ames, a nurse, told Patch. "I want to come back as long as the community wants me."

Hochman, a Lindenhurst resident who's the senior court clerk at , is the current BOE vice president. She'll be running for her third term on the board.

As a parent of a son with special needs in the district who went on to graduate from Johns Hopkins University with a degree in economics and works now for Morgan Stanley, Hochman originally ran in 2006 to help parents become more informed about services available to them.

That evolved into being able to help parents of all kids in the district make sure they had a good foundation of programs and services.

"That's really important, and as parents you have to really fight for your kids, so if I could help along the way, then I will," she said.

The submitted their petitions by the late Monday afternoon deadline, said the district.

Voters will be able to for , as well as for the , on , .

The budget is scheduled to be finalized and adopted on Wednesday, April 18, at 8 p.m. at the McKenna Administration Building.

The 2012-13 School Budget
The BOE was scheduled to the on April 4, but decided at the March 27 budget workshop - where it $623,000 in expeditures - to that until right before the New York State deadline to adopt in anticipation of more state aid.

Once the NYS state budget was finalized at the beginning of April, school districts, including Lindenhurst, learned that $20.4 billion was being restored in , according to a press release about the budget agreement from the governor's office.

That boiled down to slated for Lindenhurst Schools, bringing the total for 2012-13 to $2.4 million.

Superintendent Richard Nathan also told Patch after the April 4 meeting that the additional state aid won't change what the BOE already elected to cut at the .

"I don't believe we'll be restoring any that we've already cut. I think all of the cuts that have been made are all vaild ones. But I think it'll help keep the tax levy lower while preserving reserves," he said.

The that have already been made currently boils down to a tax rate of 4.48 percent. That's more than the 3.57 percent limit as set forth by New York state and its formula - and the moving-target calculations and capital exemptions contained in it.

"We're looking at all phases of the budget and a list of to bring the tax rate further down," BOE President Ed Murphy, Jr. explained on March 27.

The goal for the BOE, he said, is to and come in at less than 3.57 percent. The board and administration agreed on March 27 that three percent could ensure the cap isn't pierced based on current NYS guidelines.

"This isn't easy," Cunningham said. "We have to think as creatively as possible."

"We'd like to keep everything, but we can't," Ames added. "So we have to think outside the box, maybe change some programs into after-school programs to keep them."

"As creative as we can be, we can't keep everything we did last year. This year the voters don't want us to pierce the cap and want us to stay under it. But it's been hard. We've tried to be fair, especially if we're not getting movement on contract negotiations unfortunately, not getting mandate relief and just a little more in state aid," Hochman said.

April 20 is the deadline for in NYS, and the BOE will make that deadline when it holds its scheduled this .


Editor's Note: Don't forget to share your thoughts and concerns about this year's budget process for the with Lindenhurst Patch on the site in the comments section of articles about the topic like this one, on Facebook and Twitter, and by e-mailing barbara.loehr@patch.com with an .


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