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School Budget Draft Revealed

The Mineola School District’s 2014-15 draft budget is $87.5 million, a 1.65 percent increase from the 2013-14 budget, which was $86.1 million when it was certified last May.


The budget also includes a 1.46 percent increase in the tax levy, the maximum allowed by the state. The 2014-15 levy sits at $79 million.


District officials said pensions, salaries and special education costs drove the increases. Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler estimated salaries and pensions would total $400,000 each; special education, $300,000.


The budget includes all current educational and co-curricular programs, athletic programs and extra-curricular activities.


“We will be able to maintain all programs along with additional goals that the board of education has,” Nagler said.


Mineola is looking to expand its 5-day, half-day pre-k program to all students. The district plans to offer 54 full-day seats in the district, and will be soliciting proposals from local day care centers to run the program. Students would be chosen based on a lottery, in May. 


“If we can get 54 full-day seats, we can easily accommodate a five-day, half-day program for all of the students,” Nagler said. 


Mineola can accommodate more than 200 students.


“A lot of families look to other providers because they need five days a week,” said Nagler. “I have no idea if 54 seats will fill up quickly. My presumption is it would; that many families would want a full-day pre-k.”


Mineola wants to expand dual language programs and Meadow Drive and Jackson Avenue schools. The full implementation of common core ELA and math is also on the punch-list.


“[Dual language] would be different than the Hampton program,” Nagler said. “Meadow Drive has less students that speak Spanish, so it would be more of an immersion program.”


Other areas the district wants to tackle in the budget include continuing its 5-year bus replacement plan, new seats and flooring in the Mineola Middle School auditorium and a new public address system at Hampton Street. The district also wants to add one new truck with a plow and sander and air conditioning for non-instructional spaces at Meadow, Hampton and Jackson.