With a month until a final budget proposal needs to be adopted, the Wantagh School District is projecting a slight increase to its 2013/14 spending plan with no programmatic cuts.
During the second of four scheduled budget workshops Monday evening, district officials gave a presentation detailing a 3.39 percent increase. The budget, which is still a “work in progress” and could change based on final state aid figures, would include funding for expanding to a full-day kindergarten program. If the board opts to expand from it's longtime half-day kindergarten model, the district would receive $649,606 from the state for the first year of the program.
When factoring in required payments to the Teacher's Retirement System, Wantagh is permitted a 3.71 percent tax levy increase next year. District officials said they will stay within the tax cap in order “to provide the maximum relief to taxpayers while also supporting the district’s instructional and operational priorities.”
Wantagh Acting Superintendent Maureen Goldberg said she is hopeful for additional state aid once Albany lawmakers adopt a final budget, which is expected by later this week. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive budget released in January had a slight state aid increase for Wantagh.
“My principals, our assistant superintendents and myself have been working very, very diligently to put together a budget that we feel addresses the needs of our children in a fiscally responsible way,” said Goldberg during Thursday night’s workshop meeting held at Wantagh High School.
Some parents at Monday’s workshop expressed concerns about the projected 2013/14 budget cutting $14,000 allocated for a part-time nurse at Wantagh Elementary School. Goldberg said that the cut, which was recommended by retiring principal Dr. Donald Sternberg, is included for the moment because of declining enrollment projected at the school and a belief that the full-time nurse will be able to adequately handle the medical duties.
The next budget workshop is scheduled for April 3 at Wantagh High School starting at 7 p.m. with an additional session also slated for April 9 at 10 a.m. in the Wantagh Public Library. The Wantagh Board of Education is scheduled to adopt its 2013/14 budget proposal on April 18. The public vote on the spending plan will take place May 21.