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SWR school board adopts $74.7M budget for 2018-19

The Shoreham-Wading River school board voted to adopt the 2018-19 budget at Wednesday 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.

“Some budget highlights are that it maintains all current programming, enhances students offerings, increases mental health support, supports additional maintenance projects, provides for one-time equipment purchases,” Mr. Arcuri said. “And continues the implementation of additional security measure and lowers the tax levy.”

The budget decreases the tax levy by .5034 percent, so the district needs a simple majority vote, 50 percent plus one, from the public to pass the budget on May 15.

Throughout the budget process, several parents spoke at previous school board meetings about school security. Superintendent Gerard Poole said that security and safety are always under review and over the past few years, the district has spent about $2 million on safety-related infrastructure improvements. The 2018-19 budget includes funding for two added security guards at the high school.

Employee salaries and benefits are forecasted to account for a little more than 70 percent of the district’s expenditures for next year. The proposed overall budget for benefits alone, which includes teachers’ and employees’ retirement systems and health plan premiums, will be $19,205,941, an increase of 4.18 percent, or approximately $770,000, over last year, while salaries decrease $143,000.

The schools also announced last week that it would add another school psychologist along with a contract with an outside agency to provide extra support outside of school when necessary.

“Everything you see goes well above and beyond New York State’s mandates,” Mr. Arcuri said. “It is extremely important to note that the 2018-19 budget continues to support an outstanding program for the students.”

One-time equipment purchases include the replacement of two maintenance work vans, concession stand equipment, replacement of a minibus, a replacement kiln, Chromebooks for the expansion of the 1:1 initiative in the elementary schools.

The budget will be presented April 26 at 2 p.m. at the Club House in Leisure Glen Community. There will be an additional budget hearing Tuesday, May 1 at the regular scheduled board of education meeting.

Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River Superintendent Gerard Poole, left, and board president Robert Rose at Wednesday night’s meeting. (Credit: Rachel Siford)

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