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Proposed Riverhead school budget includes new language, security positions

Residents in the Riverhead School District will vote on a $140.3 million spending plan next month, a 2.9 percent increase over the current year’s budget. 

Deputy superintendent Sam Schneider said the budget remains under the district’s tax levy cap, which is set at .91 percent.

Mr. Schneider attributed a large portion of the increase to the district’s growing enrollment, especially English Language Learner and special education students.

In the 2009-10 school year there were 4,877 students in the district, 538 who were ELL and 775 who required special education services. That number has ballooned to 5,490 students in 2017-18, 1,638 who are ELL and 1211 in special education.

In order to meet those growing needs, the district wants to add 4.5 positions next school year.

The proposed new posts include a full-time bilingual guidance counselor at the high school, a full-time Spanish teacher at the middle school, one full-time bilingual reading teacher at Pulaski Street School, a part-time reading teacher at Roanoke Avenue School and one full-time English as a New Language teacher at Riley Avenue School.

The district is also looking to increase its security personnel. The 2018-19 school year will see the addition of two full-time door monitors, one at Phillips Avenue and one at Riley Avenue, and a district wide school resource officer.

The board approved the proposed budget with a 6-0 vote at Wednesday’s meeting. Board member Chris Dorr was absent.

Future budget presentations are set for April 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the joint PTO meeting at the high school and May 3 at the joint civic association meeting at 6:30 p.m. at the high school.

Additionally, a public hearing is scheduled for May 8 at 7 p.m. The budget vote is Tuesday, May 15 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.