Q. What are the major financial struggles the district has been facing?
West Hempstead has had to deal with rising prices and shrinking income in some critical areas. Specifically:
- BOCES will vacate the Marian Delaney School, with loss of rental income to West Hempstead.
- Island Park freshmen continue to migrate to Long Beach High School, with some loss of tuition income.
- State aid growth has dramatically slowed, and has become an ever shrinking portion of district revenue.
- A significant increase in contributions to the New York State pension fund is now being required of school districts, including West Hempstead.
The district proposes some judicious belt tightening.
West Hempstead has always been a leader in finding and initiating savings that come from sharing services with municipalities and other school districts. Bidding, buying and banking in partnership with other entities has accrued substantial savings for West Hempstead.
In addition, the district has consistently and successfully sought cost-effective and productive academic programs, including those utilizing the best educational technology or offering college credit for students.
More special education students are being brought back from external programs to West Hempstead classrooms. Creative revenue-producing ideas such as leasing roof space to solar energy companies or parking spots to transportation providers are under consideration.
And, specifically this year:
- An aggressive search for replacement tenants for Marian Delaney has been undertaken. At this time, there is a new tenant who will occupy about half of the building — plus a number of interested prospective tenants.
- The district continues to reduce transportation costs; this year $1 million has been cut from the transportation budget and $500,000 more will be cut for 2013-14.
- The district will return to the eight-period day at the high school and middle school, saving $700,000 in salary and benefit costs.
Q. Where do the transportation savings come from?
The district is tightening coordination of out-of-district routes and moving to an even more economical model of bidding and vehicle use.
Bringing more special education students back to the district also reduces transportation costs. Remember that the district transports parochial and private school students as well as those in the public schools.
Q. How does West Hempstead’s per-pupil expenditure compare with other districts?
The district’s per pupil expenditure is consistently among the lowest in Nassau County.