The Wantagh PTA Council hosted a Meet the Candidates Night that featured a question and answer session moderated by the League of Women Voters. Below is a list of the seven candidates in alphabetical border and a summary of the campaign platforms they stressed at Monday’s forum that was held in the Wantagh High School Auditorium.
- Michael Costello- Costello, a retired New York City Police Department detective who now runs his own security/private investigations comany, said he wants to give back to the community he has called home for 24 years. His oldest son, Austin, graduated from Wantagh High School and is now in college with his younger son, Taylor, a sophomore. “I dedicated myself and my career to the city of New York, now it is time I dedicate myself fully to the town of Wantagh, the town my family grew up in and the town we love,” Costello said. “This town has offered me and my children so much.”
- David Hoffman- Hoffman, a certified public accountant (CPA) and vice president of sales at New Hampshire Creations in Manhattan, emphasized his knowledge and experience with budgets and finance as an asset he can bring to the board. The 1978 Wantagh High School graduate also would make increasing grade point averages in the district as a priority so that students have improved odds at getting into their top college choices. “I hope we have the opportunity to control the budget because even though we are under the [state tax cap], the budget as it goes up every year adversely affects the taxes that all of us pay,” Hoffman said. “We have to find compromise.”
- Donald Lang- Lang, who is director of athletics, physical education and health for the North Shore School District, said his administrative experience in education could be a positive for the school board. He previously was an athletic director and assistant principal in the Sewanhaka Central High School District. “I’m immersed in education and work in a district that is a cutting edge district and a high performing district,” Lang said. “I’d like to help bring a new perspective and introduce new kinds of programs to the Wantagh School District.”
- Kera McLoughlin- McLoughlin, who is co-president of Wantagh SEPTA. said she running to provide leadership in promoting a positive dynamic on the board and building consensus on important issues facing the district. She pointed out her previous position as a social studies at Massapequa High School and volunteer roles with SEPTA, Wantagh’s Full-Day Kindergareden/Decling Enrollment Commitee and Long Island Autism Speaks as valuable educational experiences that would be brought to the board. “I have had an opportunity to work with many different stakeholders in our community on some of the critical issues facing our district,” McLoughlin said. “If elected I will continue to build upon those relationships with parents, teachers, administrators and community members to achieve consensus as we work towards our common goal of providing the best schools for our children.”
- Peter Mountanos- Mountanos, a 2012 Wantagh High School graduate now attending New York University, said he wants to work toward bringing Wantagh to the forefront with education through by incorporating new technology. The former president of Wantagh High School’s National Honor Society also wants to try tapping into new revenue streams such as personalized internet revenue advertising. “I believe I can provide the voice necessary to represent the student body as well as the community as a whole,” Mountanos said. “My campaign has been spurred by the belief that every student’s voice and perspective deserves to be heard when it comes to their education.”
- William Russack- Rusack, who is the one incumbent Wantagh school board member in the race and is seeking his third term, touted how in the last two years he has helped craft budget proposals that came in below the state tax cap. One of his chief goals outlined is continuing to develop budgets that are educationally sound but also minimize the financial impact on taxpayers. “As board members, we must continue to make creative decisions so our students do not suffer because of budget reductions and minimize reductions that would be directly felt in the classroom,” Russack said. “I am seeking reelection to the board of education because now more than ever we need experienced, knowledgeable, and sensible leadership to navigate these challenging economic times.”
- Ralph Spagnolo- Spagnolo, who is retired from the Nassau County Department of Public Works and is now executive director of the Wantagh Foundation for Education Excellence, said he wants to return as trustee of the Wantagh school board where he previously served for nine years to give back to today’s students. His many other community involvements including directed educational/youth programs for the Wantagh Foundation, serving as a trustee for the Wantagh/Seaford Homeowners’ Association and a being a lifetime member of the Wantagh Fire Department. “I don’t have any children in school right now but I have all of your children in school,” Spagnolo said. “I have dedicated myself to the community.”
Voting for the school board election is scheduled on May 21 from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Wantagh Elementary School, Forest Lake Elementary School and Mandalay Elementary School.