Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 15 April 2011 00:00
After months of discussions and public workshops examining every item in the Glen Cove School District budget, the Glen Cove Board of Education voted 6-1 to adopt a $72,052,501 budget for the upcoming school year - a reduction of over $400,000 from the proposed budget last week, which included cutting over 11 teaching positions. Trustee David Huggins opposed the budget, stating that he felt more cuts should still be made.
The budget – if passed by voters at the polls on May 17 – will amount to a 3.3 percent tax levy increase, and a 2.4 percent budget-to-budget increase. A large number of the newest round of cuts includes reductions in capital projects. The board voted to hold off on such projects as brick re-pointing at Landing and Deasy elementary schools, carpet replacement in the middle school, painting the middle school cupola, window and door replacement at the high school, and asphalt and curb repair at the high school. Additionally, a reduction of $20,000 was made to the superintendent’s salary, and the new teacher luncheon expense of $2,480 was eliminated from the budget.
The board has been discussing each line item in detail and making revisions in budget workshops since March, and nothing had been made final until this meeting. In addition to cuts in staff across the district and the implementation of eight-period days in the high school and middle school, the registrar and transportation departments will be consolidated. As previously reported, 11.7 teaching positions, two custodial positions, two clerical positions, three monitor positions and 0.5 administrative positions will be eliminated.
“The process has been very difficult…but this is a budget I can support,” said Trustee Joel Sunshine. “Still, we need to work together as a community to change the paradigm for how we fund public education…after salaries and benefits, we don’t have enough money to pay for capital improvements.”
“This budget is not low enough for me – I cannot in good conscience vote for this budget,” Huggins said.
At the start of the meeting, superintendent Dr. Joseph A. Laria and the board honored police officer Scott Genova for his inspiration and service to children. They presented him with a citation from the board of education.
“Scott has chosen to make a difference in the lives of children through his commitment to community service,” said Dr. Laria.
The police officer has recently become an inspirational speaker after battling stage 4 cancer and being cancer-free for a full year now, and he will be a regular guest speaker at Glen Cove schools. Dr. Laria said he heard him speak recently and was touched by his message.
“His remarks moved me to the core,” he said. He thanked him for his inspiration and courage.
In other business, the board accepted a grant from Nassau County in the amount of $100,000 for playground equipment at Gribbin and Landing Elementary schools, approved the acceptance of bid awards to QG Mechanical Service Company for the kitchen hood and fire suppression systems at the middle school for $39,300 and Gribbin Elementary for $49,750, and to Xtaire for the kitchen hood and fire suppression system at Connolly Elementary School for $53,550.
Finally, the board approved the formation of a district-wide athletic committee consisting of 24 members, including staff, Glen Cove residents and board members. Dave Huggins, who is a member of the committee, abstained from the vote.