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.
Mike Kelly, 45, is a retired police detective with New York City's Bomb Squad and is running for the board of education. Kelly, currently a nursing student at Suffolk Community College, has lived in the district for 16 years. His wife Mary is an administrator outside of the district. Together they have two daughters, Caitlyn and Bridget. Caitlyn graduated from Kings Park High School and is now attending college. Bridget attends William T. Rogers.
Kings Park Patch: What prompted you to run?
Mike Kelly: I wanted to be involved in the district. I have the time now. I wanted to run a few years back, but my wife was in the district at the time. It was not the right time for me to be involved. There are two slots open and I decided to throw my name in the hat.
KPP: What are some of the issues you see facing the district?
MK: We have a lot of things going on right now with the economy and all the unfunded state mandates. There is a lot of stuff going on in education in general. I wanted to be involved in making sure our district gets the education our kids deserve.
KPP: Do you have some ideas for that?
MK: I think we are doing very well so far. I want to make sure we keep cuts to a minimum and I want to make sure we work together as a community.
My experience and background, I have learned how to work with all different factions. You have to take everything into account. You have to get everyone to work together and I am good at that.
KPP: What do you see as some of the most complex issues facing the district?
MK: The economy and funding, but balancing all of the needs is really the biggest issue. Balancing the needs of the school, the community, administrators and teachers, but ultimately it is the children’s needs, what do they need to be successful. That is what it is really about. Not one particular problem over the other, though some influence it more.
KPP: What would you like to say in conclusion?
Part of what I bring and hope to bring if I am elected is the ability to get an education from all points of view and make my decision based on that. My life and work experience and a police officer out of the bomb squad has taught me that you have to evaluate every situation you go into. It is the same as nursing and assessing a patient's needs. That is what I bring. I am looking to be fair and balanced with everybody and maintain the services that we have.
Patch conducted a Q&A with each candidate running for the board. Check back tomorrow for our Q&A with Diane Nally and Wednesday for our Q&A with Charlie Leo.