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Board Talks Budget, Vets’ Exemption

No new numbers for the budget were presented at last week’s board of education meeting in Glen Cove, though Superintendent Maria Rianna clarified some of the points made on the proposed budget at the last meeting and made several changes in areas that had previously been considered for cuts. 

 

“My intent is to keep the budget as tight as possible without impacting education,” said Rianna.

 

She said they are looking to reduce AIS staff at the elementary level and reduce permanent subs, “floater” monitors and aides. She also said she is “not looking to touch Pre-K” but will try to increase the grant amount. She said, based on information from people she has spoken to in the state education department, the district “might be able to expand the grant” for Pre-K. Additionally, she said the idea of eliminating middle school sports has been dismissed, though reducing the clubs is a possibility.

 

She said they are no longer looking to revert to neighborhood schools, and they are “not touching Academics Plus” but are discussing ways to enhance it.

 

Total expected appropriations for the 2014-15 school year are $80,307,873 and revenues are estimated at $78,831,086, leaving a budget gap of $1,476,787. The final numbers from the state are expected to come in this week, and Rianna said she is hoping to reduce the budget gap by the April 7 meeting, when an updated budget will be presented. 

 

The public hearing to discuss the Veterans’ Tax Exemption will take place on April 7 as well; some of the numbers were discussed at the March 10 meeting, and Assistant Superintendent for Business Victoria Galante explained there are different levels of the exemption that veterans can apply for, and a lot of different scenarios, none of which will be finalized until after the board votes and veterans apply for the exemptions. In the “worst case scenario” homeowners could pay as much as $121 more a year.

 

Rick Smith expressed his opinion on the matter, saying that since the federal government already has so many various programs in place to take care of veterans, “it is an amazing situation to put the burden on local school boards.”

 

Huggins said the numbers are “skewed” and “arbitrary,” adding, “We don’t have all the details either...we are in the same boat as you.”

 

The board also passed a resolution to award the bid for the Landing Elementary School boiler replacement project to Thermo Tech Combustion in the amount of $291,300, as the lowest responsible bidder meeting specifications as summarized in the bid analysis.

Huggins and Trustee Grady Farnan said that the work must start by July 1 and should take six to eight weeks to complete.

 

The board made some changes to the calendar, adding a meeting on April 21, when they expect to adopt the budget. There will be no meeting  on April 28.