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May 9, 2019 3:23 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Remsenburg-Speonk Has No Contest As Two Board Members Run For Same Seats

May 9, 2019 3:23 PM

The Remsenburg-Speonk School District will ask voters on May 21 to decide on a $14.3 million proposed budget for next school year that raises the tax levy by 2.9 percent, but stays compliant with the tax cap.

Under this proposal, the district projects that the tax rate will decrease 5.6 percent, from $5.54 to $5.23 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Two current members of the five-seat board are running unopposed for new three-year terms—Kevin Toolan, who is looking to enter his second term, and John Barry, who is seeking his third term.

Voters can cast their ballot from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Remsenburg-Speonk Elementary School.

Kevin Toolan

Incumbent Kevin Toolan is running uncontested to retain his seat.

Mr. Toolan, 39, said he is primarily seeking reelection to continue overseeing the elementary school’s $3.3 million capital improvement project that voters approved a bond for last October. Work will be done this summer and next.

“I think it would be good to have consistent leadership throughout that entire process,” he said of the project, adding that consistency is also important in the board’s search for a new superintendent along with his or her transition into the district.

Mr. Toolan has lived in Remsenburg for 10 years and is originally from Patchogue. He teaches sixth grade at South Ocean Middle School in the Patchogue-Medford School District. Prior to his current term, he ran an unsuccessful campaign the year before that.

He helped organize the Peg Larkins Memorial 5K Run/Walk, which provides scholarships to former Remsenburg-Speonk students who are graduating from high school.

His 9-year-old son, Rowan, is in third grade in the elementary school and his 5-year-old son, Patrick, will enter kindergarten next school year. He said he enjoys working with the current board members, who he said have a great relationship with one another, and looks forward to helping lead the school district in its current direction.

John Barry

Mr. Barry, 55, is seeking his third term on the school board and is unchallenged.

When he was first elected to the board, he saw himself serving for at least two terms, he said. And now that those six years are almost up, he said he found the experience so fulfilling that he wanted to continue with this role.

“I’m seeking reelection to keep on with the work that we’ve been doing,” he said. “I’ve found it very satisfying. It’s been incredibly eye opening, and I feel that I’ve added another responsible voice to what I feel is a very strong board.”

As Mr. Toolan mentioned as well, Mr. Barry wants to see through the district’s capital improvement project and the search and introduction of a new superintendent. He also wants to ensure that the district remains on its current path of creating a more holistic and individualized education program for students.

Mr. Barry has been a Remsenburg resident for the last 16 years and is originally from Queens. His daughter, Alexandra, is in fourth grade at the elementary school and his son, William, previously attended the school and is now a freshman at Westhampton Beach High School.

He is an attorney at JDC Properties LLC in Westhampton Beach and is involved in the community, serving as a board member for the Westhampton Yacht Squadron and as an organizer for the Peg Larkins Memorial 5K Run/Walk and the Louis Mancuso Sr. Scholarship Fund for high school seniors looking to pursue an aviation career.

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