Two Parents Seek One Seat

Two Montauk parents will run for one five-year term on the Montauk School Board, seeking the seat that will be vacated by Lisa Ward.

Jason Biondo and Cynthia Ibrahim both have children at the school. Mr. Biondo was an outspoken critic of the current longtime board members last year when the school board proposed increasing class size.

District residents will vote for a new board member on May 20, the same day they vote on the district’s proposed $18.6 million budget, which the board unanimously approved on April 8. The budget is down from this $100,000 from this year’s and will include a tax levy increase of just .43 percent, well under the state-mandated cap. The lower figure reflects the payoff of a loan that was used to expand the building and purchase a piece of property for parking south of the school in 2000.

A proposition on the ballot will ask voters to authorize money to replace modular classrooms and incidentals for an amount upward of $400,000, which would be transferred to the capital fund from an undesignated and unreserved fund balance from 2013-14 school year.

The modular classrooms were attached to the building 40 years ago and expected to last only 10 years. They are in dire need of replacement, according to Jack Perna, the district superintendent, who joked during a budget workshop that on windy days he fears having to move the students.

At meeting on Tuesday, the board discussed a May 13 meeting at 4 p.m. to enable parents and members of the Montauk PTA to discuss the Common Core, a national education standard for students in kindergarten through 12th grade that has parents and educators frustrated. They see the tests that also link teacher evaluation scores as being too difficult for students in the younger grades.

Students in third grade took a portion of the tests earlier this spring and will continue next week, said Bridget Collins, the vice principal and head of the curriculum committee. She told the board that the students were not provided with the proper tools to study and were unable to complete the tests on time. Some of the students were in tears, she said, when they were told their time was up.