Written by Eric Holden Friday, 01 April 2011 00:00
On Wednesday, March 23, members of the Levittown Board of Education held a budget planning session at the Memorial Education Center to review the current status of the proposed expenditure reduction plan.
The Board of Education originally planned to adopt the budget on Wednesday, March 23, but that has now been pushed back to Wednesday, April 6.
Superintendent Dr. Herman Sirois gave a presentation to the board of five different budget projection scenarios for the upcoming school years.
“We have to avoid the 2 percent budget cap,” said Sirois. “In order to get a budget passed, we need to give our taxpayers something they can understand and can live with. It may not be 3 or 4 percent, it may have to be around 6.5 percent.”
The PTA Council opened the meeting with a presentation of their budget recommendations, which included full-day kindergarten and staggered start times at all levels of Levittown district schools.
The committee supports converting half-day kindergarten to full day because the state would reimburse the district approximately $2 million to make the transformation.
“If the district puts the extra funds aside for kindergarten only, the program will pay for itself for a number of years,” according to the PTA Budget Council Committee report.
The report goes on to say, “The dangerous traffic conditions at Salk Middle School and MacArthur High School during drop-off and pickup needs to be corrected.”
The committee estimates that by staggering the start times at the high schools, middle schools and elementary, traffic congestion may be eased and the district could save nearly $380,000 by eliminating six buses.
New times suggested for MacArthur would be 7:27 a.m. to 2:25 p.m., Salk would shift to 7:57 a.m. until 2:55 p.m. and all elementary level schools would move to a 9:10 a.m. start time and end at 3:28 p.m.
The PTA also suggested that district employees should accept a pay freeze at 2010-11 salaries for the 2011-12 school year. In addition, they hope to postpone new renovation and construction projects until the district is more financially stable.
Later in the meeting, Levittown School District Buildings and Grounds Director Michael Hahn pleaded to the board to consider the implications of maintenance cuts.
“Many of our district buildings were built in the late 1940s and early 50s,” said Hahn. “They are getting old and we have a lot of things that have been breaking. We have been aggressively attacking a lot of the things that are in need of repair. I don’t want to be in a position where we lose something and we end up losing classroom space because of it.”
Board of Education Trustee Edward Powers presented a line-by-line analysis of additional recommended expenditure reductions besides the originally proposed $4.3 million in cuts.
Non-staff related reductions include contractual concessions, decreases of 5 to 10 percent in school supplies per pupil and limiting the number of school calendars printed yearly. School calendars will be available as-needed on school grounds, rather than being mailed out as they had been in the past.
The next regular Levittown School District Board of Education meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 13 at the Levittown Memorial Education Center at 150 Abbey Lane. The public session begins at 7:30 p.m. This meeting will be devoted to reports from the superintendent of schools and board members, regular agenda items of old and new business and schedules.
Copies of the agenda are available to the residents of the district at the office of the Board of Education three days prior to the meeting date. Copies of agendas are also available three days prior to meeting date at the Levittown Public Library. Tapes of meetings are available at the Levittown Public Library.