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Board Outlines Budget

There is a lot that goes into putting together a school district’s budget. At last week’s Oyster Bay/East Norwich School Board meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Christopher Van Cott explained the basic fundamentals of preparing a finalized budget.

“The budget formula is to adopt a spending plan which is voted on by the community to operate our district,” said Van Cott.

Steps that are included in the budget development are preparing a “rollover” budget in November and obtaining projected data such as health insurance figures, TRS (Teachers Retirement System) and ERS (Employees Retirement System).  School administrators meet with central office members to evaluate existing programs and enrollments and then review and prioritize cost saving initiatives.

The central office team reviews the budget items line by line and the board of education reviews the budget in public sessions.

The budget discussion for the 2014-15 school year will follow a specific pattern, with a facilities update occurring on Jan. 7, an expenditure budget review on March 4 and a budget review on April 1 before the budget hearing on May 6. In February, March and April of 2015 the budget will be thoroughly reviewed again before the budget vote on May 20.

Van Cott outlined the school district’s demographics, stating that as of Nov. 30, there are 1,655 students who attend public schools in the district. This number is up slightly from figures over the past few years.

The “combined wealth ratio” (CWR) in the district, which is a number tallied by the state education department, is 3.66. This number, according to Van Cott, is the second highest in Nassau County with Locust Valley Schools ranking as the highest CWR.

“What this means for us is that we receive less money for state aid because of the wealth in our district,” said Van Cott.

Other News:

Director of Special Services for Oyster Bay/East Norwich school district, Debra Kienke, was honored for her13 years of service at the school board meeting. Kienke will be moving on to a new position at Oceanside High School as the Executive Director of Special Services for the school district.

The next meeting will be a Work Session on Jan. 7 in the high school library.