Residents head to polls to vote on school budgets

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BRENTWOOD -

Residents across Long Island headed to the polls Tuesday to vote on school budgets.

In Brentwood, the district proposed a budget under the state's 2 percent tax cap.  

And after five kids and 47 years in Central Islip, Eleanor and Tom Gould say they always want to vote in favor of the school budget. This year, they say they were happy to see just a 0.88 percent increase in the spending plan, which won't hit their wallets too hard.

But both Brentwood and Central Islip districts are also dealing with a major gang problem. A father of one of the alleged victims of gang violence is running for school board in Brentwood. Former District Superintendent Michael Cohen says gang activity is certainly a crucial issue for the community as they head to the polls.

"Even those who don't have children of their own, they worry about their neighbor's kids," says Cohen. 

Elsewhere on the Island, a handful of districts proposed either reducing or keeping taxes steady. Hewlett-Woodmere, Plainedge, Fire Island and Fishers Island all had no tax increase in their spending plans. North Shore, Freeport, Bethpage, Montauk, Elmont and Valley Stream all proposed a tax decrease in their budgets.

The North Fork district of New Suffolk was the only one vying to pierce the state's tax cap, with a proposed 6.5 percent hike.

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