Health and safety proposition added to SWR ballot for May

SAMANTHA BRIX PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Steven Cohen and school board president Bill McGrath.

Residents of the Shoreham-Wading River School District will vote on a Health and Safety Proposition during the budget vote this May that would largely be covered by about $1 million left over from a prior health and safety project approved in 2009.

Board of Education trustees voted to place the new proposition on this year’s ballot at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. The proposition includes a district-wide security project; improvements at the Wading River and Miller Avenue elementary playgrounds; the Briarcliff Elementary playground’s retaining wall, nurses room and main entrance landing; and the high school court yard.

Additionally, the district would apply the funds toward abatement of flooding at the Wading River elementary library and at the Miller Avenue parking lot; and on sidewalks, blacktops, curbs, roads, walkways, electrical and heating ventilation, air conditioning work and drainage systems throughout the district.

“It would be foolish of us not to fix them,” board member Rich Pluschau said at Tuesday’s meeting.

About $3 million was budgeted for health and safety projects at the middle school and at Briarcliff Elementary School in 2009. The project was completed this past August at $1.1 million under budget, due to the district receiving low bids in a weakened economy, “good project management and good facilitation,” Mr. Pluschau said.

In other news, school board members directed administrators to craft a budget for the 2012-13 school year that increases the tax levy no more than 2 percent and supports a “rollover budget,” a spending plan that maintains programs and operations currently in place this school year. To ensure the budget doesn’t eclipse a 2 percent tax levy, board members said administrators should aim to underspend and use money in the district’s fund balance reserve and from Prior Year’s State Aid.

Residents of the district approved a $60 million budget, which carried a 3.5 percent increase and raised the tax levy about 2 percent, for this school year. School officials have said the district will need to trim about $1 million from next school year’s budget in order to maintain programs in place this year and again raise the tax levy no more than 2 percent.

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