Incumbents run for two open seats
The Patchogue-Medford School District will hold their annual budget and candidate vote on Tuesday, May 21. Both incumbents Teresa Baldinucci and Thomas Donofrio are running uncontested for two open seats on the board
BY NICOLE FUENTES
Teresa Baldinucci is a Medford resident married with four children, two who graduated from Pat-Med Schools, one currently at Saxton Middle School and one at the high school.
Prior to her time on the board, she was a former purchasing agent and budget director for the Village of Freeport and self-employed for many years. Currently, she is a purchasing technician with Suffolk County and active at the parish of St. Sylvester R.C. Church as a religious education teacher and cantor. She is also the founder of the Patchogue-Medford Parents Against Common Core and was elected to the board in 2016.
“I am proud to have been a part of the positive changes we have made in the district over the past five years, both as a concerned involved parent and, since 2016, as a board trustee,” she said. “Our district has stayed true to our vision of education and has forged a path for districts across New York State who are now embracing the whole child education model.”
She said she hopes to encourage the education department and board of Regents to realize the value of this model and respect the decision of parents who refuse the state exams by not penalizing districts.
Additionally, she said, NYSED needs to address the issue surrounding alternative paths to graduation so that all students who work hard and meet their educational goals can earn a high school diploma without passing Regents exams.
“Local testing designed around the curriculum should be sufficient for issuing a diploma to our students, with Regents accreditation available to those students who choose to pursue that level of diploma,” she explained.
Financially, she said, the governor and Legislature have a responsibility to pay the district what is owned to them in foundation aid and to address the unfunded mandates.
“Our district’s business office does an exceptional job managing our finances and getting the ‘best bang for the buck’ with expenditures, but there are expenditures we have absolutely no control over because of edicts from Albany,” she continued. “I encourage our community members to be a part of the board’s committees and participate in the development of ideas and plans for the district, and to let our legislators and the governor know that we are tired of them keeping our money, telling us how to spend what we do receive, and forcing programs upon us without the funding to support them.”
Tom Donofrio is a Medford resident for over 38 years, who has served as a Patchogue-Medford board trustee for 12 years. He has three children who have all graduated from Pat-Med High School. He currently serves as the chairperson for the legislative committee and has previously served as president and vice president of the board.
“More now than ever we need strong leadership from our board of education with the sudden and unexpected resignation of our superintendent,” he said. “My past experience in the process of finding a successor will be a valuable asset to our Patchogue-Medford community.”
A marketing manager by day, he said he is proud of finally getting the budget to the point it is at now. He said it has been a wonderful and long battle for the district to get to this point where it is financially stable, but they still must keep an eye on it.
The 2019-2020 Patchogue-Medford final budget has been approved by the board of education with a 3.16 percent budget-to-budget tax levy increase, resulting in a total increase of $255.78 per average household per year. The proposed $195,640,699 budget does not pierce the tax cap and includes just over 38 percent, or $74,551,274, in state aid. Prop 2 includes a $2.5M expenditure for upgrades and the in-house CTE program will officially begin in September.
Voting takes place on Tuesday, May 21 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at respective polling places. Voters must be 18 years of age, a resident of the school district for at least 30 days prior and registered to vote with the board of registry or Suffolk County Board of Elections.
To register, visit the Administrative Center at 241 South Ocean Avenue in Patchogue any open school day. Deadline to register is May 13.
Polling places include South Ocean Middle School, Medford Elementary School, Saxton Middle School, Tremont Elementary School and Eagle Elementary School. Fore more information, call 631-687-6310. n
Like what you have read? Click here to subscribe to the Long Island Advance so you can read more stories like this, and find out everything that’s going on in your town!