Three candidates will vie for two open seats during this year's board of education election. Patch asked the candidates to give us a quick rundown of who they are and why they are running. Residents will have a chance to question the candidates at the May 9 Meet the Candidate event taking place at the high school and can place their vote for the budget and candidate of their choice on May 15.
Charlie Leo is a partner at Leo’s Electrical, a family owned business based in Southampton. The 44-year-old candidate is a married father of three children, all of whom attend school in the district. Leo has lived in Kings Park his entire life and he along with his wife are graduates of Kings Park High School. Leo was also the president for Kings Park Youth, where he was a trustee for five years as well as football commissioner for five years.
Kings Park Patch: What prompted you to run for the board?
Charlie Leo: I’m 45 years old and just felt it was my turn to jump into the ring. I’ve been active in the community through Kings Park Youth, where I am not actively at this time, but on the board. I thought it was a good time to get involved, there are big and important issues. It is a tough time and with two positions being open I thought this was the time for me to throw my hat into the ring.
KPP: What do you see as the biggest issue facing the district?
CL: The biggest issue facing the board is financial. One of the jobs of the board is to present the community with a budget that is equitable to all, balances the well-being and education of the students in the least expensive way for the community.
We really don’t have businesses here. We have a couple of pizza places, a laundromat, but not much. The board has been smart with the finances. Class sizes are a concern and we don’t have a ton of money to hire new teachers.
In terms of change, I am not looking to reinvent the wheel, the board has done a good job. We need to get a teachers contract, we need to know going forward what we are looking at financially. We thought it would be resolved, but looks like it will fall on the new board.
KPP: Do you have any ideas?
CL: As KPY president, we donated a lot of money to the school district. We gave money to fund football team, baseball team for the middle school and bought a baseball score board. I would like to get community groups involved and help out with district anyway we can. I would like to see other organizations do the same. It seems like a little thing but it really helps.
KPP: Is there anything you would like to add?
CL: I am going in with a clean slate. I am open minded and willing to listen to different parties on different issues and I will be fair. If I tell you something it’s the truth and I will have the best interest of the kids at heart.