Reporter Editorial: Go to the polls Tuesday

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO

Working together, the staff, administrators and Board of Education members have crafted an $11.7 million budget that maintains the educational program while meeting increasing costs over which it has little if any control.

Now it’s your turn to vote the budget up or down at the polls in the school gym Tuesday, May 15.

Just as the average householder is seeing increases in bills for heat, electricity, gasoline, healthcare and insurance, so the school district also has to meet those rising costs no matter how many students attend classes locally.

And unlike neighboring school districts, the Island has higher costs for transportation for some special education students whose needs can’t be met locally; students attending any of the three off-Island schools who qualify for busing; and transportation to participate in sports and other activities off-Island.

The district has been blessed with an able superintendent in Christine Finn and a talented business manager, Idowu Ogundipe, leaders working with an experienced, dedicated Board of Education that examines every line and does its best to cut what it can without impeding educational programs.

Little income reaches the district from the state and federal governments, but thanks to the board’s work and determination, we believe the budget they’ve crafted deserves support of town voters on May 15.

With respect to electing members to the board, two women have completed their first term with one, Susan Binder, opting not to seek re-election. Her efforts to keep up with a raft of volunteer efforts on the Island led her to conclude that she should not seek a second term, but she deserves her community’s thanks for three years of dedicated service.

Kathleen Lynch is seeking a second three-year term and it somehow seems impossible, but she’s managed to give the board her undivided focus while adding to the educational process by bringing programs — including self-defense and mindfulness — to the district. She deserves to be re-elected.

With a second open seat, one person has stepped forward to launch a write-in campaign. It may be unusual for the Reporter to endorse a write-in candidate, but Margaret Colligan is a former educator, a member of the Shelter Island Educational Foundation and a woman involved in fostering educational programs on the Island.

We would hate to see someone whose friends might think it a joke to elect a friend to this important board and have that person accept the election without understanding the demands of the job when someone both able and experienced is willing to serve.

We heartily endorse both Ms. Lynch and Ms. Colligan and hope voters will take the time to write in Ms. Colligan’s name on the ballot. Poll watchers will be available to assist if you have any questions about casting a write-in ballot. Polls are open at the school from noon to 9 p.m. on Tuesday.

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