There are two candidates running for the Montauk School Board seat that Lisa Ward is giving up after serving two five-year terms. Ms. Ward’s daughter, her youngest, is to graduate this year from East Hampton High School.
Jason Biondo has three children, two of whom are in the school and one who will be entering next year’s prekindergarten class. A former reporter for The East Hampton Star, Mr. Biondo owns Hammerhead Construction and the Antique Lumber Company.
He coaches his children’s sports teams and wants to become more involved in the school, he said. Never one with political aspirations, Mr. Biondo said he is simply running for the kids. “To me, it’s clear I have that tight connection with the kids through sports. They all know me.”
Calling himself a huge advocate for education, Mr. Biondo clashed with current school board members when they increased class size last year. During that time, he noticed that other parents were reluctant to speak up at meetings. “My voice would speak for many,” he said.
He sought approval from his wife, Lauren Biondo, before throwing his hat in the ring, and once she agreed, “That’s all I needed,” he said. “I hope I get it.”
The other candidate, Cynthia Ibrahim, has a daughter in the fifth grade. She has been involved with the school since the start of her daughter’s education there, and was instrumental in getting the prekindergarten program up and running. Her daughter was in the first pre-K class, she said.
She is a member of the PTA and served as its treasurer from 2008 to 2010. She continues to volunteer at PTA functions and helps out on teacher appreciation day. She is now the treasurer for the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation and was recently licensed to sell real estate.
“The Montauk School is a great school, and the school board is the backbone of the school,” she said. “I’ve always been involved with education and have three college degrees. I absolutely love learning and hope I have instilled this love of learning in my daughter.”
The vote is on Tuesday from 2 to 8 p.m. in the school gym.
At the same time, residents will be voting on the Montauk School’s 2014-15 budget proposal in the amount of $18.6 million, a decrease of $100,000 from this year. The district will pay off debt it had incurred to expand the school building and increase parking in 2000. The tax-levy increase is .43 percent, under the state cap.
A proposition will be on the ballot that if approved would authorize the school district to spend $400,000 from its capital fund to replace two modular classrooms that were installed some 40 years ago. At the time they were expected to last for only 10 years.