Written by Gary Simeone Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Island Trees Union Free School District faces a few hurdles in its upcoming 2013-14 budget. The loss of the BOCES Geneva N. Gallow building lease and the increasing mandated retirement system (TRS/ERS) adds up to $2 million in lost revenue. The TRS/ERS contributions increased by almost $1.4 million, and the Gallow lease loss totals approximately $500,000, including the utility costs.
“Unfortunately the loss of the $346,170 BOCES lease complicated our 2013-14 budget,” said School Superintendent, Dr. Charles Murphy. “In the past, this revenue stream helped offset increases to our budget. This tremendous loss to our district is further compounded by the fact that the district will need to pick up the utility costs for Gallow, which is approximately $100,000.”
As the proposed 2013-14 budget stands, the total budget number is $59,177,477 with a budget-to-budget increase of 2.16 percent from last year. The tax levy increase is 2.29 percent. Major expenditures in the budget include general support, pupil transportation, undistributed expenses, and instruction. Instruction costs total $34,342,825, making up a large percentage of the budget number.
Initiatives in Island Trees include a new common core mathematics series in grades K through six. The 2013-14 budget includes funding for the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt “Go Math” program. The district will purchase consumable textbooks for the program this summer.
“This new math program will be more challenging for students,” said Dr. Murphy. “It will be a lot more rigorous with problem solving as the main focus.”
The district will also upgrade its technology in the classroom, with additional computers and wireless access in the secondary schools. Fifty new computers will be added to classrooms as well as eight new Promethean boards and 12 laptops for the high school library.
Security will also be the focus in district elementary schools after the Newtown, CT, tragedy that left 20 schoolchildren and six adult staffers dead.
One full-time security guard will be added to Michael F. Stokes Elementary, giving the district a total of two full-time guards to patrol the grounds of both Stokes and J. Fred Sparke elementary schools.
The next public session for the Island Trees Board of Education will be held on Wednesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m. For information, contact the Island Trees Public Schools Administrative Office at 516-520-2100.