Four Candidates Vie For Three Seats

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On Tuesday, May 15, Carle Place voters will decide who fills three open seats on the Carle Place Board of Education. Incumbents Anthony Bulzomi and Joseph LoCurto are running against newcomers Neal McLaughlin and David Argenzio. The Westbury Times asked the candidates to fill out a questionnaire describing their experience and goals for the district. Residents can also learn more about the candidates on Thursday, May 10, during a Meet The Candidates Night at Carle Place High School at 8 p.m.

Anthony Bulzomi

I have lived in the Carle Place school district since 1996 and serve on the school board for the last 6 years. My background is over 15 years’ experience in school construction working with NYC DOE. I’m a strong supporter of public service and I enjoy volunteering my time for the great people this community has.

Why are you running for the school board?
I’m running for the board so I can contribute my talents and experience along with the other board members that continue to do an excellent job. There are also several projects the board has undertaken around the district and I would like to help see them through for various reasons..

What qualifies you for the trustee position?
I came to this board six years ago knowing very little about how school boards function. I owe a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid to Larry Zaino, John DeFrisco and the late Barry Dennis. Their tremendous knowledge, advice and guidance has allowed me to become a qualified member of the school board. I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention the guidance of Superintendent Dave Flatley and the administration.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you solve it?
The biggest challenge is keeping the budget within the 2 percent tax cap without loss of staff or services to the kids. In my six years, the administration and school board members have done just that. We have stayed below the cap, achieved a tax levy of zero percent one year, added programs for the students and cut zero staff. The board will continue to work hard towards keeping this trend up.

Are there any programs that you think the district should implement?
I think the district has done an excellent job at implementing many programs for the students. I would like to see the district continue to add more programs for the gifted children.

Joseph LoCurto

I have lived in the Carle Place School District my whole life. I graduated from Carle Place High; my daughter was a 2014 graduate and my son a 2016 graduate. I have been on the school board six years, serving five years as vice president and this year as president. In those years the School District has had the following significant achievements:
•Average School budget increases of 1.08 percent, 5 of 6 budgets were under the district’s state cap
•A zero percent increase in the 2015-2016 budget, a Carle Place first.
•Approximate save of $5M to the community, due to being under cap levels
•Facility improvements, paid for by reserve funds, versus debt facilities as follows: New high school turf athletic fields, science rooms, library, main lobby, auditorium, security doors for main entrance and completed first phase rebuilding of Rushmore School classrooms.
•Maintained high quality educational standards without reducing academic courses, athletic, fine arts programs or ancillary services.
•Academic offerings increased in all schools and CP’s average graduate rate is 97 percent, with 92 percent going on to college.

What qualifies you for the trustee position?
I think I’m qualified to continue as a Carle Place Board Trustee because of the track record of success the Carle Place Board has achieved during my tenure and my contributions toward those achievements. I’m also qualified because of the deep commitment I have to this school district. I realize as a lifelong resident that the Carle Place School is the center of the Carle Place community and maintaining our school district at a high educational level is not only significant in developing our children into young adults but significant in maintaining community household property values. I have lived and understand the tradition of the Carle Place School District. I believe Carle Place is one of the top school districts on Long Island and I want Carle Place to remain at that level.
I hope the Carle Place community members see the value of my qualifications and achievements and vote for me May 15.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you solve it?
The biggest challenge facing the Carle Place School District, as well as all school districts, in my opinion, is school security. It’s unfortunate but it is the reality of the times we live in. The Board is proposing for community approval on the May 15, ballot Proposition #3 which will allocate $1.7M in funds from our building reserve to be spent on facility improvements. The bulk of those funds, approximately $900K, will be spent on security enhancements for the district. Some of these enhancements will be the construction of a command center in the high school, manned fulltime during school and after school hours to have all school security school cameras monitored in real time. In addition, we will be investing in new more powerful cameras throughout the district with the goal of stopping any potential security issue before someone enters the school. In addition we will be investing in hardened doors throughout our schools, alarms will be installed on exit doors. A trap door main entrance will be installed in the Rushmore School (mimicking high school functionality).

We will be purchasing a license scanning system, which will be used at all school main entrances for all visitors and will have the ability to scan multiple specific databases to identify non-risk individuals. We have also included in the 2018-19 budget money for the hiring of additional security guards. All will be hired and employed by the Carle Place School District and will be retired law enforcement officers.

Are there any programs that you think the district should implement?
I think the school district should implement more business electives in the high school given the number of students that move on to college to pursue a business degree. I think we should begin our government classes earlier in a student’s high school years. I also think the School Board should meet with members of the High School Student Government at least 2 times per year to discuss issues impacting students; an example of one topic we met on this year is School Safety. I also think we need to do more education, on security with more security drills and post drill (what happened) recaps, during the year to ensure our guards, students, teachers and administrators know what to do in a security related situation should one arise.

Neal McLaughlin

My name is Neal McLaughlin, a 21-year resident of Carle Place. Married for 24 years and father to a junior presently attending Carle Place High School. One of eight children, I grew up in Williston Park and attended St. Aidan’s Grammar School, St. Mary’s High School in Manhasset and received a BBA from Iona College, New Rochelle. I am currently employed as a real estate property manager for several Class “A” Commercial Office Buildings on Long Island. I have been in the corporate working world for 34 years throughout the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania/tri-state region in numerous senior management positions. Additionally, I presently hold a NY State Real Estate Salesperson License.

Why are you running for the school board?
As a resident of the Carle Place community and parent of a student currently enrolled in the high school, I have seen firsthand the enormous opportunities the Carle Place School System provides. Over the course of the last 30 years I have witnessed six nieces and nephews obtain a solid academic foundation that enabled them to attend and graduate from acclaimed colleges, and Universities. The foundation build on through the school system, has helped them pursue careers that allow them to make positive contributions to the Carle Place community, and our society as a whole. As a board member, I would work diligently and passionately to assure that all students are able to live out their dreams and ambitions.

What qualifies you for the trustee position?
I have extensive experience working with various levels of personnel from support staff to CEOs of numerous firms. I have a background in real estate property management, building management, and corporate services. I have extensive knowledge compiling and working with budgets, in addition to producing income, expense, and capital improvement reports, routinely provided to 200 equity partners on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis with expense to budget variance analysis. This knowledge base affords me the expertise and transferable skill set to aid me in bringing a different perspective to the school board holding a influential position. I have successfully negotiated service contracts, secured and awarded bids, and executed agreements for firms across the real estate, banking, and services industries. I have worked with union reps, and played a critical role in the execution of collective bargaining agreements for personnel. I have internally authored policy and procedure manuals for building operations, Life Safety, physical and electronic security, and records management. I have interviewed, hired, and conducted personnel evaluations for all levels of employment.

What is the biggest challenge facing the school district and how would you solve it?
I feel as though one of the biggest challenges for the school district is to continue to maintain an affordable tax base for the residents of the Carle Place community. A part of this approach would be working with local and government officials, and commercial property owners to maintain real estate value, all of which make our community one of the most desirable hamlets to live in. Thus producing a positive economical effect and return on investment to the school district. Additionally, working closely with the Superintendent and other board members, explore and reassure our parents, that we do not lose our future students to other schools, be it parochial or private. Separately protecting our most precious commodity, our children, in the somewhat unstable and volatile world we live in is one of the most important roles any representative of the Carle Place Schools can have. Currently the schools are investing in numerous state-of-the-art security technology tools, to assure this remains a priority, and I would welcome being a critical part of this endeavor.

Are there any programs that you think the district should implement?
As a board member, I would look to work closely with all district personnel and fellow board members, in cooperation with law enforcement officials to enhance the safety of all of our students and pedestrians while drivers transverse our busy thoroughfares and roads within the school district and surrounding areas.

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