Letters to the Editor: May 28, 2020

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A True Representative

Scrolling through Facebook these days, one can’t help but notice the number of posts complaining about the changing face of our hometowns. You can walk down Main Street, Sag Harbor, and not see one familiar face. The stores are not the ones we knew growing up. Even the schools reflect the changing population of Sag Harbor. How many members of the Board of Education are local people who have memories of growing up in this town?

Sandi Kruel is, once again, running for a position on the School Board. I believe it is important that the residents of Sag Harbor look closely at her candidacy and consider voting for her when they receive their ballots in the mail.

Sandi is a lifelong resident of Sag Harbor, a graduate of Pierson, a parent whose three boys attended Pierson, and a former School Board member with 12 years of experience. She has more institutional memory of the school district than any other current member of the board. That is important, because it means she represents Sag Harbor in a unique and powerful way.

Sandi is outspoken, tenacious and intense. Those of us who know her can attest to her strength of character. She is also honest, loyal and committed to this community. One always knows where they stand with Sandi. That is refreshing in today’s political world.

I have attended many a board meeting where Sandi had asked the difficult questions, called people to task and provided a balanced accountability among her fellow board members. She works hard to maintain transparency and truth from the board.

Most importantly, Sandi is an advocate for the children of Sag Harbor. I have seen her stand up for students who have come to board meetings to speak on issues that impact them. Where others seemed inattentive and dismissive of the students, Sandi was fierce in her support and encouragement of their right to speak publicly. Every decision she has made has been student-centered and consistently in favor of Sag Harbor’s children.

Sandi Kruel will work tirelessly for the families of Sag Harbor if elected to the Board of Education again. She’s a true Sag Harbor representative.

Toby Marienfeld

Sag Harbor

We Need Sandi

I wholeheartedly endorse Sandi Kruel for Sag Harbor School Board. Sandi is exactly the kind of person we need at the helm as the school navigates the challenging years ahead.

While Sandi’s institutional knowledge and exceptional understanding of policies, procedures and contracts are important, as well as her commitment to transparency and fiscal accountability, it is who Sandi is that we need more than ever.

Sandi is all about the kids. When I had the privilege of serving on the Board of Education with her, she was always asking the question, “How will this help the kids?”

Much of the board’s work is on contracts and budgets, and Sandi made it her mission to keep the focus on the students. This included at School Board meetings, where she encouraged school leadership to have students and teachers come and present.

That same commitment is evident as one of those Sag Harbor moms that many of us have come to count on — there to give your kid a ride home when needed, to bring a meal when someone’s sick, or to support kids and families when they are having a tough time.

Sandi was also one of the School Board’s hardest-working members. In her last year on the board, she was honored for participating in more professional development than any other member. That is a welcome change from some of the current members who did not engage in board training until a member of the community FOILed the certificates.

And she always made herself available for meetings and has continued to attend meetings to ensure the board stays accountable and the community informed.

Sandi is not afraid to speak her mind, but she is just as willing to listen. She and I did not always agree and had some spirited debates, and yet her open-mindedness, extraordinary dedication and sense of humor led to a friendship for which I will be forever grateful.

I am excited to vote for Sandi. The Board of Education needs her. The school needs her. The kids need her. We need her!

Susan Lamontagne

Sag Harbor

Important Asset

I have been living in Sag Harbor since 2015, and I am currently a senior at Pierson High School. I have known Sandra Kruel since the first day I set foot in this town.

Throughout my years at Pierson, I have always noticed Sandra taking action in some aspect of our school. Whether it be by attending every event, being on the School Board or organizing events, Sandra has always been an active member of our small but crucial school community.

More importantly, as I’ve grown to know her as a person, she has shown me how driven, hardworking, kind and down to earth she is. Never afraid to show the truth, and determined to make changes for the better.

As a student myself, I am confident in her intentions to prioritize the students’ needs and take action to improve their experience so that it is the best it can be. I know that Sandra would be an important asset to our community as a member of the School Board. Implementing Sandra Kruel’s character, intentions and motivations to our education system would be a decision for the betterment of our students and community as a whole.

Elizabeth Borzilleri

Sag Harbor

TASH’s Choices

The Teachers Association of Sag Harbor would like to announce that we are endorsing three candidates for the Sag Harbor Board of Education: Alex Kriegsman, Brian DeSesa and Ronald Reed.

Alex Kriegsman and Brian DeSesa are currently members of the board and are running for reelection. In early March, the Sag Harbor Board of Education took the courageous step of becoming the first school district in New York State to close its school buildings and transition to teaching classes remotely. Eventually, of course, the rest of the state followed its example.

The leadership and foresight that these two gentlemen, along with the rest of the current board, displayed are qualities that our community needs more than ever as we move forward.

There are other reasons why they should be reelected, including their professional and board experience. They have helped to create an environment of unprecedented cooperation between the board, the administration and the teachers. TASH strongly endorses their reelection.

This year, there are five outstanding individuals who are running for the School Board. Sandra Kruel and Helen Roussel are passionately committed to our community. However, we believe Mr. Reed’s credentials make him a better candidate for our School Board.

When Ronald Reed and his wife wanted to move their family from New York City to the East End, they wanted to be confident that their two children would receive the best possible education. They investigated all of the districts out here and selected Sag Harbor.

He would like the district to continually improve an already very good educational program. He is an architect and an artist. Mr. Reed immediately got involved with the school district and became a member of the Educational Facilities Planning Committee. If there are capital projects in the future, his experience, which includes having served as an architect on the LaGuardia Airport project, will be invaluable. Equally important is his desire to be a contributing member of the team.

The Teachers Association of Sag Harbor endorses Alex Kriegsman, Brian DeSesa and Ronald Reed for the Sag Harbor Board of Education; please consider voting for them.

Jim Kinnier

President

Teachers Association of Sag Harbor

Experience Is Important

I am a lifelong resident of Sag Harbor, the mom of three Pierson graduates (including one in the Class of 2020!), a Pierson graduate myself, and an active community member. I am running for the Sag Harbor School Board because we are facing extraordinarily challenging times, and the board will need people with extensive institutional knowledge who are deeply committed to the students and the school, and willing to do the work.

My experience includes:

• 12 years on the Board of Education, where I served as both vice president and president

• PTA President

• PTSA President

• Athletic Committee

• Building and Grounds Committee

• YARD President (longtime after-school program)

• Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League founder and president (two years), general manager (12 years) affiliated MLB (12 years)

• Wall of Honor Committee

• Class parent, 15 years (Homecoming skit/lip sync coach, 12 years)

• Audit Committee (three years)

• Park Board liaison

• Whaling Museum liaison

• Member of Sag Harbor Helpers

For the past 20 years, I have been heavily involved in the school district on both sides of the table. I bring a wealth of knowledge of policy and procedures, contracts, and programs.

I believe that all children deserve a quality education and the opportunity to reach their full potential. I understand the importance of transparency and communications, and that the public deserves the right to be heard and answered. I am firmly committed to honesty, oversight and fiscal accountability.

During my time on the board, we expanded programs such as adding the International Baccalaureate, growing sports and club options, while also controlling costs. I voted to ensure that the community — not the board — would decide on the back field. I helped to oversee three major construction/renovation projects to ensure that our buildings are safe and up to code, as well as to offer students additional gym and classroom space.

The board must work in the best interests of the students and the community, as well as the taxpayers. I pledge to be your voice on the board, to always be available to you, and to help the school navigate the difficult years ahead.

I have faith in our kids, in our staff and in our community. I hope you will have faith in me as I ask for your vote.

Sandi Kruel

Sag Harbor

Wealth Of Experience

The upcoming School Board election could be the most important in a long time. The Sag Harbor School District is something that we can all be proud of, but it will face increasing pressure and new challenges in the coming years.

There will be the need to complete and open the Sag Harbor Learning Center (formally Stella Maris), the unknown impact of COVID-19 and the uncharted waters of yet-to-be-defined learning conditions, four labor contracts expiring at the end of this June, and new state-mandated learning standards rolling out in the next few years. It is also likely that we will face cuts to our state aid, which could require difficult decisions in what does and does not get funded.

Having board members with institutional knowledge and board experience will be particularly critical in these challenging days ahead. That is why I’m wholeheartedly endorsing Sandi Kruel to be elected to our School Board.

Sandi’s wealth of experience includes 12 years as a Sag Harbor School Board member, leadership roles in the Sag Harbor PTA and PTSA, and active participation in several community charities and organizations. She has raised three sons who have gone to school in Sag Harbor, and she understands the student and parent experience, from kindergarten through graduation. Being born in Sag Harbor and a Pierson graduate herself, Sandi will also add a unique perspective that is currently lacking on the board.

I have spent years working with Sandi both on and off the Sag Harbor School Board, and I can personally attest that she is the best candidate to get elected. She works hard on behalf of every child, respects staff throughout our buildings, and is mindful of all taxpayers with her focus on deliberate spending, accountability and transparency. She will work on behalf of us all.

I ask that you please take the time to vote, and join me in voting for Sandi Kruel for Sag Harbor Board of Education — the most experienced candidate running and best candidate to help us navigate the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Chris Tice

Sag Harbor

Vote Of Confidence

This is a challenging time for individuals, families, businesses and institutions in our community, and we’ve all needed to adapt and make difficult decisions.

Following health and safety guidelines, the Parrish closed the building in March. But with a dedicated staff and volunteers, we’ve continued to be a robust online resource for adults, children and families through live education programs, family art projects and livestream programs.

The arts are needed now more than ever to lift our spirits and provide inspiration — and it’s our mission to provide that.

That mission has been supported for over 40 years by Southampton and Tuckahoe school district residents through the annual tax levy, and we look forward to their vote of confidence once again. Sustained funding ensures that we continue our community and school programming, and provide a safe, inspiring learning environment for all.

This year, qualified voters in the districts can support the museum through propositions in mail-in school budget ballots: Proposition 6 in Southampton, Proposition 5 in Tuckahoe.

For the 2020-21 school year in Southampton, based on the tax rate, a homeowner will pay $1.36 toward the appropriation for the museum for every $100,000 of assessed value — or $6.68 for the year for a home assessed at $500,000. This is a 4 percent rate decrease from last year. For Tuckahoe, homeowners pay about 37 cents per $100,000, or $1.66 for the year for a home assessed at $500,000.

Funds from the tax levy have no impact at all on the funding of the school budgets.

These funds directly support exhibition, education and program expenses, including Resident Benefit memberships. Since it launched in 2014, nearly 1,600 residents signed up to enjoy free admission to the museum and many programs. All district residents are eligible for Resident Benefits, and I hope those who haven’t enrolled will sign up.

A formative education program is Artist-in-Residence, enabling 350 students from Southampton and other local schools to make art projects with practicing artists. Year-round, we collaborate with teachers to create unique programs for Southampton and Tuckahoe school students, kindergarten through 12th grade. Access Parrish, developed with six partners, including Southampton Public Schools and the Flying Point Foundation for Autism, provides learning experiences for youth and adults with special needs. Increased participation attests to the importance of this program.

These efforts reflect the museum’s dedication to being an accessible, unifying place for the community — online or in person. Funding through the tax levy allows us to continue our mission to provide inspiration through art for all.

Please vote in support of the Parrish through the mail-in ballots, and thank you for your continued support.

Chris Siefert

Interim Director

Parrish Art Museum

Water Mill

Get Ready To Vote

The League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, Shelter Island and North Fork will be holding two Democratic primary debates for voters, via Zoom, hosted by Southampton Town’s SEA-TV, before the New York State primary on Tuesday, June 23. The moderator will be Cathy Peacock of the League.

The first debate, on Monday, June 1, at 7 p.m., for the four Democratic congressional candidates in the 1st District, will include Bridget M. Fleming, Perry Gershon, Nancy S. Goroff and Gregory-John Fischer. This debate can be viewed live at 7 p.m. on YouTube.com/SeaTVSouthampton, and then anytime thereafter on the same YouTube channel, starting the following day, June 2.

The second debate among the candidates vying to be the Democratic Party nominee for New York State Senatorial District 1 will have the five candidates on the ballot: Laura A. Ahearn, Valerie M. Cartright, Nora Higgins, Skyler Johnson and Tommy John Schiavoni. That debate will take place Monday, June 8, at 7 p.m., with the program available live to the public on YouTube.com/SeaTVSouthampton, and then the following day, June 9, and after, also on YouTube.

Information on the primary candidates throughout Long Island and the state is available on the New York State League’s online Voters Guide, by going to www.Vote411.org and following the online instructions.

The League reminds registered Democratic Party voters that the New York State primary takes place on Tuesday, June 23, with in-person early voting available at the polls from June 13 to 21, and voting by absentee ballot available by filling out an absentee ballot application, citing “temporary illness” as the reason for the request.

By executive order, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that registered voters will receive an absentee ballot application in the mail, along with a postage-paid return envelope, that needs to be received by the Suffolk County Board of Elections, P.O. Box 700, Yaphank Avenue, New York, 11980, by June 16.

Absentee ballot applications in English and other languages are also available on the New York State Board of Elections website at www.elections.ny.gov.

A video on how to fill out an absentee ballot application is available on the New York State League of Women Voters website at www.lwvny.org

After voters mail in the absentee ballot application and receive the actual absentee ballot back, the postmark deadline is June 22.

For questions, call the Suffolk County Board of Elections at 631-852-4500.

Anne K. Marshall

Voter Services

League of Women Voters of the Hamptons, Shelter Island and North Fork

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