Residents had their chance to meet and question the trio of candidates contending for two open spots on the Kings Park Board of Education Wednesday evening.
Candidates Mike Kelly, Diane Nally and Charlie Leo agreed on most, if not all, of the issues that were raised during the two-hour question and answer period moderated by the League of Women Voters.
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All agreed the current board was up to par, providing children with a quality education while being fiscally responsible.
All three were in favor of keeping the current busing system and not contracting to an outside agency.
“I love that we have our own buses,” said Kelly. “It’s a nice feeling," but added that everything comes at a cost that has to be weighed. “What is the community willing to accept as far as cost and what they are willing to give up and keep.”
Nally said she is “very much in favor of doing everything we can to keep our busing and not go to contract busing.”
Leo agreed and said most drivers were community members who knew the streets. “I know contracting has been discussed and can be looked at. Owning the buses is probably the least expensive and the best option,” he said.
Contract negotiations for the teachers union were also discussed. The union’s contract expired last June,
Leo, said the answer starts with collective bargaining, adding that collective bargaining was “a simple idea, but a difficult process.”
Kelly, said, “any contract has to be negotiated with transparency, in a calm, relaxed fashion.”
Nally said she would like to see both sides come to a compromise for a "fair and equitable settlement."
Candidates were asked to share their involvement with the school in regard to their attendance at board meetings. Both Leo and Kelly said they have attended occasionally. Nally, who said she has been attending since the beginning of the school year said that she has also attended meetings in other districts.
Kelly has been to two budget hearing meetings; Nally said she has attended all, leaving early once during a Saturday meeting and Leo stated he had been at one or two.