On Feb. 5, the Lynbrook Board of Education held its first of two budget work sessions to plan the proposed 2014-15 district budget. This session dealt with staffing, salaries and benefits, central administration budgets, interfund transfer and debt, school building budgets, facilities, communications, fine and performing arts, athletics, special services and special programs. The second session, scheduled for Feb. 26, will deal with expenditures, revenue and use of reserves.
Dr. Paul Lynch, the district’s assistant superintendent for finance, operations and information systems, began by outlining the budget process, beginning with building and department budget work in September and ending with the budget vote on May 20. The district is scheduled to submit its maximum allowable tax levy to the state by March 1, with the budget hearing set for May 7.
As a result of careful budgeting by administrators, decreases were realized in the superintendent’s budget, curriculum personnel and support services budget, business budget, and elementary and secondary building budgets, as well as special services, athletics, and fine and performing arts. Slight increases are projected in budgets for salaries, benefits, facilities, communications, special programs and the board of education.
Careful budgeting also allowed the district to provide funding to add high quality programming. To support the district’s goal to enhance science, technology, engineering and math, funding has been provided to introduce a sixth-grade tablet pilot program to enhance digital literacy. At the middle school level, funding has been added to initiate a middle school summer robotics academy. This three-week program will give students an introduction robotics programming and video game design. The program, which would be offered for a fee, would be self-sustaining. At the high school level, a senior internship program will be introduced, giving students an opportunity to gain real-world work experience. Classes in AP physics and anatomy and physiology will be added to enrich instruction. In keeping with the district’s goal to enhance the high school Career Development Program, the budget provides funding for a transition coordinator to ensure that students with special needs will be prepared to transition to the workplace after graduation.
Dr. Lynch called upon Maureen Berman, administrator for personnel and student support services, to outline the district’s staffing needs for 2014-15. Ms. Berman explained that projected enrollment at the kindergarten center is expected to remain the same. Marion Street School is expected to decrease by one first-grade section. Average class sizes in grades K-5 will remain stable at approximately 20 students per class.
Staffing goals for the coming year are: to prepare students to meet the demands of the curriculum; to add, improve and sustain high-quality instructional programs and initiatives; and to prepare students with the knowledge base and skill set needed for success. Staffing projections, which will increase by 1.7 positions, will support the continuation of elementary and middle school reading, literacy and math initiatives, and provide staffing needs for elementary speech therapy, the middle school robotics academy, the additional high school science courses, the high school internship program and the addition of a transition counselor.
“I was very pleased with the instructional discussion that took place at our first budget work session, as it is our true mission to provide our students with the highest quality education.” said Superintendent Dr. Melissa Burak. “The key element of this budget is that we were able to enrich our program opportunities for the children and still operate within the allowable tax levy cap.”