Editor's note: This is the second part of a two-part series on Wednesday's Meet the Candidates Night. Thursday's part focused on the backgrounds of each of the candidates.
All five candidates running for three school board slots said at that they support the proposed 2011-12 budget that goes to a district vote on May 17.
Candidates Chris Schiavo, , Maria Holmquist, Paul Peller and Betty DeSabato also agreed that there should not be a on superintendents’ salaries, arguing that it would be difficult to attract high quality administrators to the district if a cap, being floated as an idea in Albany, were put in place. The district is currently searching for a replacement for Superintendent Sheldon Karnilow, who is in September.
Despite some differences, there was not much disagreement among the candidates during the question and answer session with residents at .
DeSabato, Holmquist and Acampora said that they would not initiate a motion at a public board meeting to make use of the district’s email notification system to alert residents to meeting times. Schiavo said he would support email as a supplement to regular notifications and added that he thinks the district should live stream some meetings online for people who cannot attend meetings
“Not enough people come to these meetings, and we need to get the information out so everyone has at least the opportunity to attend,” Schiavo said.
Peller said that he would support an email notification system and agreed with Schiavo’s proposal of putting some meetings online.
“I feel strongly that as we’ve entered into the 21st century that we have to be an electronic society…paper is really going by the wayside," Peller said. "In order to be a green, efficient, and cost saving district we need to emphasize email and electronic communication."
Acampora is unique among the candidates, as she said working for the board would be her full time job if elected.
“[My background] affords me the ability to look at the district as a whole, to be able to evaluate curriculum needs as well as budgetary issues," she said. "I’ve sat on so many committees and chaired so many committees over the years that I have a real working knowledge the philosophy and the psychology of this school district."
All candidates said they would be open to the idea of discussing term limits for the board of education if the community spoke up. DeSabato said that term limits could force out a high performing board member.
“You still have the power to vote onto the board whomever you feel is the best candidate,” she said. “I feel that if this was something that the community as a whole wanted, we would sit down and look at that.”
The candidates agreed that extra curricular activities and tutoring are important to students. The candidates said they did not see a large problem with redundancy of administrative positions in the district, with Holmquist calling the current structure a “model of efficiency.”
Current school board president Anne Marie Sorkin, along with trustees Carole Catapano and Jay Marcucci, are not seeking re-election.
The school board election and budget vote will take place next Tuesday at from 7 a.m.- 10 p.m.