East Islip heads to the polls
East Islip candidates: Jessica Carney and Philip Montuori

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East Islip heads to the polls


EAST ISLIP—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 proposed budget is $117,081,377, which represents an increase of 1.8 percent over the current year and carries a tax levy increase of 0.7 percent. The proposed tax levy is below the allowable tax cap of 3.4 percent, bringing the five-year average to 0.64 percent for residents. 

East Islip residents will also be voting on a capital bond improvement (Proposition No. 2), which authorizes the construction of improvements to school facilities, including site improvements, at a maximum cost of $59,996,334, and providing that $2 million of capital reserve funds together with $57,996,334 to be raised by the levy of a tax to be collected annually with district obligations to be issued in anticipation of the approval. 

The total amount of the proposed bond is approximately $59.9 million to be funded through a bond and the district’s existing capital reserve fund balance. The proposed plan is tax-neutral, meaning the district will not need to raise additional tax revenue to support it, according to a district representative. This is due to expiring debt from an earlier bond, which will retire in 2020-2021. 

Current board of education president Jessica Carney and vice president Philip Montuori are both running unopposed for reelection. Terms are for three years.  

The polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Early Childhood Learning Center, 1 Craig B. Gariepy Ave., Islip Terrace.

Jessica Carney

Jessica Carney, an East Islip High School graduate, believes the board must be positive, nonpartisan and driven by a “belief in providing an excellent education for our children while keeping the constraints faced by taxpayers in focus at every step.” 

Carney is completing her first term on the board and is the current board president. She has also had a long career in finance and research. Carney studied economics at Dowling College and works full-time in midtown Manhattan. She is married with four children; two are in college and two are high school students in the district, with one starting college in the fall. 

Carney feels she is “well versed” in the community’s concerns pertaining to the educational, health and safety needs of students. She also hopes to address the neglected facilities and invest in cost-effective projects. “Hopefully, the proposed bond will have the community’s support,” Carney said. She also hopes to renegotiate contracts that the community can afford, as she recognizes the high cost of living on Long Island and its effect on taxpayers. 

Carney is most proud of her work as the chairperson of the Long Range Planning Committee, which presented a multi-year plan early last year. Based on two studies performed by Western Suffolk BOCES Office of School Planning and Research, the presentation highlighted the data and information that will be used in formulating future educational, facility and fiscal options for the school district. 

Carney’s priorities for the next three years are board oversight on faculty’s work, ADA compliance and enhanced educational settings; continuing to work on finding efficiencies and cost savings throughout the district; focusing on multi-year planning and long-term savings; continuing work on board policies and oversee policies; and working to ignite the community’s EI pride. 

Philip Montuori

Philip Montuori is a lifelong East Islip resident who graduated from the district in 1966. He is a retired Port Authority officer and also served as a Navy hospital corpsman during the Vietnam War. 

Montuori is involved in a number of local community and district organizations. He has served as treasurer of the East Islip Hockey Club, is one of the original members of the Exchange Ambulance of the Islips, a member of the East Islip Fire Department Benevolent Association, chain manager of the East Islip Little League, and is part of the district’s SEPCO Nutrition Committee. 

In the past, Montuori has commented about the controversial state-mandated Common Core curriculum, saying the “idea is good, but the implementation was wrong,” adding that “it should’ve started in kindergarten and worked its way through instead of starting in every grade right away.” 

Montuori’s children graduated from East Islip High School and he now has grandchildren who are attending school in the district. He is currently seeking his third term on the board. 

This publication attempted to get additional information and comments from the candidate, but there was no response by press time.