Bay Shore heads to the polls
Bay Shore candidates: Craig Brewer, Susan Gargan, and Michael Ruggiere

Photos provided

Bay Shore heads to the polls

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
5/3/2018


BAY SHORE—School districts across Long Island will be heading to the polls on Super Tuesday, May 15, 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 $155,847,443, which represents an increase of 2.5 percent over last year’s budget. The expected tax impact will be an increase of $156 per household, which roughly equates to $13 a month. 

There are three candidates running for two positions currently occupied by Craig Brewer and Susan Gargan, both of whom are seeking reelection after completing their first terms on the board. Terms are for three years. 

Craig Brewer (incumbent)

Craig Brewer and his wife, Kerriann Knackle Brewer, are lifelong members of the Bay Shore-Brightwaters community and currently have five children attending Bay Shore schools. After graduating from Bay Shore High School over 25 years ago, Brewer went on to graduate from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. 

After graduation, Brewer began his career in international education, bringing students from Europe, South America, Asia and Africa to the United States to attend public and private high schools while living with American host families. His education businesses have more recently become involved in funding and managing private schools. Several years ago, Brewer helped to start a private school in Daegu, South Korea, and managed a private school in Massachusetts. 

Throughout the years, Brewer and his wife have become very involved in the community. He coaches multiple Little League baseball teams and several CYO basketball teams, according to the school district’s website. This publication tried to get additional information and comments from the incumbent, but he was unable to respond by press time. 

Susan Gargan (incumbent)

Susan Gargan grew up in Bay Shore and graduated from Bay Shore High School in 1986. She then went on to attend SUNY Geneseo for two years before completing her degree in special education and elementary education at St. Joseph’s College. Gargan also has a master’s degree from Stony Brook University and holds two permanent educational administrative certifications.

Gargan is an educational administrator at Eastern Suffolk BOCES, where she was first hired as a special education teacher in 1991. She and her husband, Danny, have two daughters, Riley and Lily. Gargan is also involved in the school’s PTA, has volunteered for the school’s Building Goals Committee, and actively supports the district’s Special Education Parent Teacher Association, according to the school district’s website. 

Once again, we tried to get additional information and comments from the incumbent, but she was unable to respond by press time. 

Michael Ruggiere

Michael Ruggiere is a lifelong Bay Shore resident and graduated from Bay Shore High School in 2008, making him the youngest candidate on the ballot. He also graduated from Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts in 2012 and has volunteered at his hometown high school as assistant dance coach. 

While Ruggiere doesn’t have a background in public education, both his parents were teachers. He says he “greatly benefited” from the Bay Shore School District (before and after graduation) and now hopes to “give back.” Ruggiere feels that his age gives him an “advantage” when it comes to communicating with parents and taxpayers alike, whether it’s about financial or safety issues. “Many parents don’t think there are plans in place in the event of a school shooting,” he said, adding that the district must explain to parents that they are, in fact, prepared for emergencies.

Ruggiere would like to expand the English as a second language program, considering the district’s large number of Spanish-speaking students. He would also like to see the afterschool robotics program become an everyday class to help make students “more employable.” Ruggiere says parents must be informed about what their tax money is being spent on. “There’s a very vocal minority that complains about how much taxes they’re paying,” he said. “The taxpayers should see what they’re paying for and that the students are benefiting.”  

Ruggiere currently performs at Guild Hall, a performing arts theater in East Hampton. He is also a board member at a number of performing arts programs in Manhattan and Long Island, and works for Your Trike Spirit, a sports and recreation store in Deer Park that often works with disabled veterans and other handicapped individuals.