Mineola School District voters passed the $94,444,259 budget last week, with incumbent trustee Margaret Ballantyne-Mannion and newcomer Patrick Talty being elected to the board of education in an uncontested race.
The budget represented a $3,229,747 (or 3.54 percent) increase over the previous year, but the vast majority of that was paid for from the fund balance, keeping the tax levy increase at .89 percent. The budget passed with 796 yes votes, 233 opposed.
The budget includes facility upgrades and equipment updates, including new carpet in the high school library, a library makeover at the middle school, painting at the Hampton Street School and Jackson Avenue School gym, new furniture for classrooms districtwide, new bleachers at the middle school gym and additional Fab Lab equipment/upgrades.
Residents also voted to approve a proposition to spend $4.2 million from the district’s capital reserve fund to build an art, music and STEAM wing at Meadow Drive School, as well as a second gym at the high school with a second-floor workout area.
Ballantyne-Mannion received 769 votes and Talty 755. Talty takes the seat of Nicole Matzer, who chose not to run for reelection this year.
Talty follows in the footsteps of his father, who served on the Brick Township board of education in New Jersey.
“He figured out he could affect the change he wanted to by being on the other side of the deis. At the end of the day, he felt very good about the changes he was able to bring about, and I hope I can do the same,” said Talty. “We have a fantastic school district I’m very proud of. I want to make sure the opportunity my kids have enjoyed will continue to be there for other kids.”
While this will be his first stint on the board, it won’t be Talty’s first-go at giving back to the Mineola community. The dad of three children in the district formerly coached youth soccer and lacrosse, has been a PTA member and participates in career day roundtables at the high school. As a trustee, he hopes to get more parents involved.
“When we think about our kids’ education, we can’t restrict that to what they do in school. Everybody can do something. It’s important because your kids know when you’re involved,” Talty said. “They know when expectations are high.”
Those expectations for students include making sure they’re lifelong learners who aren’t afraid to fail.
“Encouraging kids to take risks is very important. [Helping them realize] if you don’t know something, that’s okay, you can learn it and it will involve hard work and failure and setbacks, but everyone can learn,” Talty said. “That’s an attitude I want the kids graduating from our district to have. The world they’re entering will require them to learn new things constantly through their careers.”