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Riverhead School District to enhance technology, clubs in 2016-17

Riverhead smart board

More computers, technology, extra curricular activities and athletics are planned for the Riverhead School District next fiscal year.

During the school board’s meeting Tuesday, Superintendent Nancy Carney gave a budget presentation outlining various instructional spending projected for 2016-17 and said the majority of increased expenses will go toward technology infrastructure mostly related the construction of new classrooms.

Currently, the district has more than 1,600 computers, 330 Smart Boards and 1,300 tablets, Chromebooks and laptops, Ms. Carney said.

The computer and technology’s proposed budget is $2.5 million, up 14.54 percent, she added.

As for the addition of new clubs, sports and other initiatives throughout the district, Ms. Carney projected the extra curricular activities and athletics will be $1.8 million next year, a 17.06 percent hike.

The district currently offers 27 sports programs with 64 teams, she said.

Ms. Carney has said administrators are also preparing to hire more teachers and staff to handle an upward trend of foreign language students entering into the district on a “daily basis.”

So far this school year, 184 additional Limited English Proficient (LEP) students have enrolled, bringing the districtwide total to 1,160 LEP students — an amount she said makes up 22 percent of the district’s 5,300 student population.

Ms. Carney is also proposing to spend about $430,140 to hire new teachers next year to address increased student enrollment, including additional ENL teachers.

Despite the increases, Ms. Carney said she’s confident a budget will be presented to voters that won’t pierce a slim 0.5 percent state-mandated cap on next year’s tax levy increase since the district is expected to save over $2 million through the latest retirement incentive program.

Savings for nursing ($964,460 budget, down 1.28 percent), counseling ($1.5 million budget, down 1.36 percent) and library services ($756,340 budget, down 6.23 percent) are expected to be realized through retirements next year, according to the superintendent’s presentation.

Ms. Carney is scheduled to give a final presentation featuring estimated revenue and next year’s projected tax levy on April 19 — just prior to the school board adopting the budget.

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Photo: Laniece Hutley steps up to the Smart Board during a presentation by the Riverhead High School Key Club in 2011. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch, file)