Bay Shore heads to the polls
School district vote this Tuesday.

Bay Shore heads to the polls

Story By: LIZ FINNEGAN
5/11/2017


School districts across Long Island will be heading to the polls on Super Tuesday, May 16, to decide on school budgets and board of education trustees. The polls in Bay Shore will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will be located in the high school gymnasium lobby.

The overall budget is $151,988,797, which is an increase of 1.39 percent over last year. The expected tax impact will be roughly an increase of $10.67 per month.

There are five candidates running for two positions currently occupied by Guy Leggio and Lou Bettinelli, who are both seeking another term. Since the candidates are running at large, those with the most votes wins.

Guy Leggio (Incumbent)

Leggio is a lifelong resident of the hamlet and a 1981 graduate of Bay Shore High School. He is seeking another term as school board trustee because he believes he has the skills and experience to carry on.

Leggio, the father of three, is a U.S. Navy veteran, a 33-year member of the Bay Shore Fire Department and serves as Islip Town School Board Association treasurer. He is also on the board of Nassau-Suffolk Eastern BOCES and a member of the Bay Shore Chamber of Commerce.

In 2014, Leggio was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. He is a wrestling coach at the high school and in 2006 was named Wrestling Coach of the Year. A mason and construction foreman by trade, he helped to build the Sept. 11 memorial at the middle school as well as a garage at the high school track.

In his bio, he states that he has never missed a school board meeting or work session in his nine years on the board. He added, “My goals in these difficult times, when every penny is valuable, are to ensure that every child receives a quality education and that we maintain a budget that we can afford. I believe that all of our opinions count and should be heard. I pride myself on always being approachable and willing to bring anything to the table, even if I disagree with the topic.”

Lou Bettinelli (Incumbent)

Bettinelli is now serving a second term as a trustee. He is a lifelong resident of the hamlet, a 1977 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and a U.S. Navy reservist. He currently pilots ships in New York Harbor, Delaware Bay and River and in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. He is a board member for a number of professional organizations, including serving as president of Interport Pilot’s Agency since 1990, where he deals with the legal and legislative initiatives of that business.

Bettinelli is married and the father of two adult children.

James J. Notaro

James J. Notaro, a former master sergeant of the New York National Guard, has lived in Bay Shore for 42 years. He is an accountant who had spent a number of years in the private sector working for a number of Wall Street firms, including serving as vice president of JP Morgan before moving into the public sector. He then worked in a number of high financial positions for the United Nations for 20 years, including as senior finance official for the U.N. Secretariat. At the U.N., Notaro has been instrumental in leading the implementation of new accounting standards mandated by the General Assembly.

Notaro said he is running for the board of education as a way to give back to his community and to help “maintain the level of education in our schools, initiate potential improvements and challenges, and assist in solving future challenges the district may face.”

Notaro is married, the father of a grown daughter and has one grandchild.

Michael Ruggiere

A 2008 graduate of Bay Shore High School, Michael Ruggiere is also a 2012 graduate of the School of Visual Arts.  He has used his college degree to volunteer at his alma mater as assistant dance coach.

Ruggiere is a board member at a number of performing arts programs in Manhattan and Long Island. He studied acting for over four years and has appeared at Caroline’s on Broadway, in the series “Orange is the New Black,” and he was also in the final season of the hit series “Boardwalk Empire.” In his biography, he notes that “after experiencing the ups and downs of show business,” he went on to work in corporate financial sales.

He noted that maintaining quality school districts such as Bay Shore requires integrity, transparency and innovation. He said he wants to “efficiently and realistically improve students’ quality of education” by “increasing student involvement – finding ways to get them interested in their education and their community.” He said he’d also like to help students make good decisions that will prepare them for life outside the district, whether it’s college, vocational training or work. “Empowering students to become active participants in their future is the ultimate goal,” he added.

Dr. Scott Berlin

Dr. Berlin, a 23-year resident of Bay Shore, is married to a former NYC public school teacher and they have two school-age children in the district. He is an obstetrician-gynecologist who has been chairman of the OB-GYN department at Southside Hospital (2008-2013); director of GYN services at Lincoln Hospital (2008-2010); and founder and chief executive officer of Brolex LLC, a company that makes a safety scalpel used for cesarean section.

“Education has been a part of the majority of my life and something that I feel is of paramount importance,” Dr. Berlin stated in his biography. “There are a lot of changes occurring in education and I believe I am very qualified to be a great conduit for our community…I am always open to new ideas and methods.”