East Williston passes $71M budget, re-elects incumbents Fallarino, Hirsch

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East Williston passes $71M budget, re-elects incumbents Fallarino, Hirsch
Trustee Leonard Hirsch and Trustee Robert Fallarino secured re-election to the East Williston school board. (Courtesy of Island 360 Archives)

Incumbent Trustees Robert Fallarino and Leonard Hirsch defeated challengers Denise Tercynski and Eswar Sivaraman to retain their seats on the East Williston Board of Education and voters approved a $71 million budget with 68% of the 1,496 votes Tuesday.

Residents approved with 78% of the vote in a 1,210 to 350 margin the transfer of a leftover balance of about $650,000 from the 2015 capital reserve fund into the 2023 capital reserve fund.

Residents also approved with 78% of the vote in a 1,210 to 345 margin the transfer of a leftover balance from the 2019 capital reserve fund to be used for capital projects, including the replacement of the North Side School roof and auditorium renovations at The Wheatley School.

Fallarino defeated Tercynski, an active PTO member and Mineola resident, with 60% of the vote and 1,006 votes to Tercynski's 659 and Hirsch defeated Sivaraman, a research scientist and East Williston resident, with 62% of the vote and 1,001 votes to Sivaraman's 604.

“I have been on the board for 15 years so obviously I have a passion for education and I have a sister who’s a teacher and now I have a son who has become a teacher,” Fallarino previously told Alb Media, “and at the beginning of my tenure on the board, for the first couple of years, I was a swing voter on a very divided board. Since that time, I’ve learned how to build consensus and navigate the fiscal concerns with the educational concerns.”

Fallarino is a trial attorney who has lived in East Williston for more than 20 years. He has four children who have attended schools in the district.

Hirsch also maintained his seat on the board despite a challenger.

“My passion really has grown well beyond sort of the financial aspects of the district and I’ve had the opportunity to have a front-row seat to see the district in action across so many facets and just wanting to be a champion for our children has just really engulfed me over the years,” Hirsch previously told Alb Media.

Hirsch is an accountant who has lived in Roslyn Heights since 2008. He has one tenth-grader in the district and one child who graduated from the district.

In addition to re-electing the incumbent candidates, residents passed the budget with a  1,018 to 478 margin.

The 2024-2025 budget is $71,177,806, which represents a 3.32% or $2,288,530 increase from the adopted 2023-2024 budget of $68,889,276.

The majority of district revenue will come from the tax levy, which is $61,374,153. The tax levy is up $2,179,547 from the 2023-2024 levy of $59,194,606.

As of February, 1,601 students are enrolled in the district. The administration expects district enrollment to increase to 1,607 in the 2024-2025 school year, making per-pupil spending $44,292.35.

The deputy superintendent said that the rising cost of employee benefits and health insurance are two main factors in the overall budget increase.

In addition to passing the budget, residents passed two propositions to transfer leftover balances from capital reserve funds for capital projects.

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