West Islip heads to the polls

Story By: ANTHONY PERROTTA
5/16/2019


WEST ISLIP—School districts across Long Island will be heading to the polls on Super Tuesday, May 21, to decide on school budgets and board of education trustees.

West Islip School District’s proposed budget for 2019-2020 is $125,903,812, which represents a 2.41 percent increase over last year. The tax levy increase, 2.37 percent, is within the allowable levy limit, according to officials. The district’s total tax levy for 2019-2020 is $85,505,745. 

Last year’s budget was $122.9 million, which represented a 1.5 percent spending increase over the previous year and carried a 3.13 percent tax levy increase. 

There will also be two propositions on the ballot. The first, Proposition 2, considers the creation of a capital reserve fund for the purpose of “performing capital improvements to district facilities,” according to reps. The second, Proposition 3, looks to allow voter registration during the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., whenever school is in session. 

Three seats on the West Islip Board of Trustees expire this year. Vice president Annmarie LaRosa, who is running unopposed, will begin her fifth term on July 1,2019. LaRosa, an educator by profession, was first elected to the board in 2007. 

Trustees Scott Brady and Kevin O’Conner, both investigators in the insurance industry, are not seeking reelection. Brady was first elected to the board in 2013, while O’Conner was first elected in 2010. Thomas Compitello and Peter McCann are both running unopposed for the empty seats. 

Thomas Compitello

Compitello has been a West Islip resident for 66 years. He attended West Islip Public Schools, from K-12, and graduated in 1969. When asked why he wants to be on the school board, Compitello said, “I feel like I owe the community something.”

“It’s payback time,” he chuckled. 

After graduating from high school, Compitello attended The Citadel: The Military College of South Carolina. He graduated in 1973 as a distinguishednaval graduate with a B.A. in history. Upon graduation, Compitello was commissioned as a United States naval officer and served for 22 years until retirement. 

After retiring from the Navy, with numerous decorations, Compitello attended Dowling College and graduated in 1997 with an M.A. in education. He went on to teach at West Islip High School from 1997-2017. 

Compitello said his background as both a retired naval officer and high school teacher will be a “valuable asset” in “maintaining and advocating the excellent reputation” of the West Islip School District, in all areas of academics and athletics. “It’s a great district,” he said, adding that graduates come out “well-rounded.” 

Regarding his qualifications to be on a school board, Compitello explained that while in the Navy, he commanded ships with 400-500 people on them. “I’m also common-sense oriented when it comes to leadership,” he added. 

Compitello isn’t a fan of Common Core. “Testing is necessary, but sometimes it’s overkill,” he said, adding his opinion that other forms of testing, such as Regents exams, are more than enough. “Let kids be kids for a bit. 

“It’s a touchy subject,” Compitello said. “But Ithink it needs more research.” 

Compitello has two grown children, a son and daughter. Both graduated from high school overseas. “We never stayed in one place too long,” he said, regarding his naval travels. Compitello also works with multiple veterans organizations, including American Legion Post 1738 in West Islip.

 

Peter McCann

McCann graduated from the West Islip School District with honors in 1988. As a high school student, he was active in the Drama Club, National Honor Society and school newspaper. McCann was also an all-county track and field athlete, according to a biography that he provided. The candidate was unable to speak with this publication directly due to travel. 

After graduation, McCann attended Hofstra University School of Business on an academic scholarship. He competed on the Division 1 cross country team at Hofstra and graduated with a degree in business administration. While in college, McCann returned to West Islip High School and coached the boys and girls track and field team for many years. 

McCann started working in middle school at his father’s medical supply company. He spent his summers working in the warehouse and “learning the business.” After the business was sold in the early 90s, McCann started his own medical company with additional financial backing. Following the sale of that company, McCann worked for several other private and public health care companies in senior leadership roles. He currently manages his own consulting business and works in the private equity field. 

McCann married his 1988 homeroom classmate, Christine, who has taught in West Islip as a special education teacher for the last 25 years. They have three children.