Shoreham-Wading River school district will be reducing the tax levy for next year’s budget, according to preliminary information given at Tuesday night’s Board of Education meeting.
The 2018-19 draft budget totals $74.7 million, which represents a .95 percent increase — or $701,500 — over the current budget, said Glen Arcuri, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. The spending plan will preserve existing programs while adding several new clubs like coding, science olympiad, yoga, Christian club, and a middle school cheer team. It could also include funding for new high school electives like website design, college mathematics and introduction to fashion design, among others.
In total, the tax levy — the total amount collected by the district — will decrease by .5034 percent. The district just needs a simple majority vote from the public to pass the budget in April.
Security measures were also discussed as Superintendent Gerard Poole said the school would consider all options.
“Over the past few years, the district has invested significantly in security upgrades and about $2 million has been spent directly on hardware and infrastructure improvements,” Mr. Poole said.
Upgrades have included new burglar alarm systems, fire alarm systems, over 40 defibrillators and video monitoring infrastructure and cameras. Mr. Poole also addressed having armed personnel in school.
“All options for security in our district are always considered and this would be no different,” Mr. Poole said. “This cultural decision would have to be made comprehensively, with planning and consideration for all consequences, intended or unintended, and must be made in collaboration with the community, Board of Education, residents, law enforcement agencies and insurance.”
He went on to say that continued implementation of security initiatives will be included in the 2018-19 budget, part of which will be used to expand the video monitoring system in the schools.
Other costs will include one-time equipment purchases like the replacement of two maintenance work vans and the minibus to support the Nexus and School to Community programs, although specific costs have not been presented yet.
The PTA meeting on Wednesday, March 14, at 6:30 p.m. will have a security presentation and the school psychologist will also be present.
Mr. Arcuri said this is the first of many budget presentations and it is subject to change after April 10, when the state aid is finalized. The budget will not be adopted until the board finalizes it in April and the public votes in May.