SWR school board considers athletics, extracurricular spending

The Shoreham-Wading River school board heard two different spending plan pitches at its budget workshop meeting Thursday night, one for athletics and another for extracurricular activities.

The activities plan, presented to the board by Superintendent Harrie Copel, calls for restoring from this school year’s budget some items school personnel have found to be “essential,” such as freshman and sophomore class advisers.

“After seeing life without it, principals felt those services are essential,” Dr. Copel said of the adviser program, which entails paying teachers an extra stipend for individual guidance, which entails scheduling services, for the incoming and younger students.

Former board member and high school PTSA president Lisa Wild agreed. She said she’s found parent involvement tends to decrease at those grade levels.

“They have no direction. They have no adviser. They need that guidance,” Ms. Wild said.

In addition to adding the adviser posts, Dr. Copel asked the board also consider restoring the Nautilus program, which involves an adviser working with students in the weight room.

Restoring those high school positions would result in an estimated increase of $31,000 to a proposed extracurricular budget of $219,000, she said. That’s good for a 25 percent increase in extracurricular spending over this year.

The district’s athletic director, Ken Marlborough, summed up his presentation at the Board of Education’s budget workshop, he provided several spending plans for the board to consider.

To maintain the status quo, the projected cost for athletics stands at about $713,000 for next year, Mr. Marlborough said.

That figure includes two new aging scoreboards, one at the middle school and another at the high school, which would cost about $12,000.

He did not have on hand a total amount of athletics spending in this year’s budget.

But if district officials decided to cut the middle school level two teams, the move would result in a $68,000 savings. As many as six other school districts, including neighboring Port Jefferson, have cut or reduced some of their second teams.

“It would be great to know where other schools stand,” Mr. Marlborough said, adding the board could make its ultimate decision by as late as August, no matter what is included in the proposed budget that will go to district voters in May.

Dr. Copel will present next year’s draft overall spending plan, as well as the contingency budget, at the next budget workshop scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The board is scheduled to adopt a spending plan at its April 5 meeting, and the district school budget vote is May 17.

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