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School Budget and Proposition Passes; Full-Day Kindergarten Restored

Jen Hebert and Adam Spector are re-elected to Board of Education.

Jen Hebert and Adam Spector are re-elected to new three-year term on Huntington’s SD 3 Board of Education. 

Huntington School District residents went to the polls on Tuesday and overwhelmingly approved the proposed budget and capital reserve fund proposition and re-elected Jennifer Hebert and Adam Spector as trustees during 15 hours of voting in the Huntington High School lobby

The $117,614,370 spending plan for the 2014/15 school year passed, 1,552 – 358. A proposition seeking release of $2.65 million in Building Improvement Fund monies for various renovation and repair projects also coasted to passage, 1,547 – 322. The capital reserve proposition will have no impact on the tax rate because the funds already exist in a voter approved account.

Incumbent trustees Jennifer Hebert and Adam Spector ran unopposed for re-election to new three year terms that will commence on July 1 and run through June 30, 2017.

Slightly more than 1,900 residents cast ballots in the election, substantially below last year’s turnout of 2455 and the turnout in 2012 when 3,018 residents voted. There are more than 22,657 residents registered to vote in the district.

“I am thrilled for the Huntington school district community,” said Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky about the voting results. “This budget will allow us to restore full day kindergarten, as well as maintain or enhance many district programs, K-12. We are also excited to commit the capital reserve funding to technological infrastructure and high school parking lot upgrades that are so sorely needed.  A tremendous ‘thank you’ to all involved!”

The budget approved by voters carries an estimated tax rate increase of 2.31 percent. The average home in the district assessed at $3,622 is projected to see a tax increase of $183.64 before STAR program savings are factored in. However, with the district’s total assessed property values running much higher than budgeted, school officials are hopeful the actual tax rate will be set much lower than estimated when trustees take final action in the early fall.

The vote brought to an end a budget process that saw the district work to limit the spending increase while at the same time returning kindergarten to a full-day program after three years of half-day status. Spending will rise 2.53 percent from the current year, due mainly to increases associated with the hiring of eight additional kindergarten teachers along with higher costs for bus transportation, health insurance and the state retirement system.

The state’s continuing fiscal difficulties have resulted in a net state aid reduction of more than $10 million in the Huntington School District over the past five years. The loss of such a significant amount of aid, coupled with the state’s property tax cap, has forced district officials to reduce expenditures wherever possible.

Re-elected to a second term on the Huntington School Board, Mrs. Hebert has an extensive background in education as a parent volunteer and teacher. She grew up on Long Island and graduated from The Wheatley School in the East Williston School District in 1986.

Mrs. Hebert attended Tufts University in Boston, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1990 and a Master’s degree in 1991. Prior to returning to Long Island, she worked as a public school kindergarten teacher in Massachusetts for several years. Since settling here she has been teaching pre-school at St. John’s Nursery School in Cold Spring Harbor, as well as devoting countless volunteer hours to the Huntington School District as a PTA president and treasurer.

Mrs. Hebert and her husband Jamie have lived in Huntington for 17 years. Together they have three boys attending district schools. She has served on various district committees through the years, including the Long Range Planning Committee.

Widely known as a creative thinker who enjoys learning about all aspects of the district and its educational program, Mrs. Herbert believes in listening to all sides of every issue. She is particularly passionate about public school education and believes the learning experience offered to Huntington students should be the finest in the nation.

Mr. Spector was also re-elected to a second three-year term. He has been serving as vice-president of the Huntington School Board. A district resident for more than two decades, he lives with his wife, Meredith and their children Jackson and Jamie, who attend our public schools.

Mr. Spector spent many years in the field of corporate technology management in New York’s financial district where he worked for some of the world’s largest banks. He helped develop and manage two separate technology consultant firms, including one focused on serving families and small businesses in the Huntington area. Most recently, he has focused his energy on his family, school district and community.

After growing up in Old Bethpage, Mr. Spector attended Binghamton University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in management from Binghamton’s School of Management.
An active participant in the school district, Mr. Spector serves on the district’s audit committee and has a lengthy resume of PTA executive leadership. He has coached youth soccer and regularly attends and volunteers at community and school events.

Mr. Spector has been particularly interested in helping the district provide cost-effective educational programs to students while continuing to offer a diverse set of programs allowing for an enriching school experience.

Source: Public Information Office

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