The initial budget numbers were presented at last week’s Glen Cove Board of Education meeting and the outlook, at this point, is rather dim. According to the projections given by Victoria Galante, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, the district is facing a budget “gap” of approximately $2.4 million for the 2016-17 school year.
“We always have a gap,” said Galante. “But this is the largest since I have been here.”
In her presentation, she explained what the budget consists of, how the tax levy limit works and gave the proposed revenue and appropriation budgets. The estimated increase in expenditures for next year is $2,906,088 while the estimated revenues are only expected to increase by $450,163, leaving a gap of $2,455,925. Galante said the gap is so big this year because of the tax levy limit, which is 0.4 percent this year and would generate an increase of about $267,877, significantly lower than in years past. When it comes to revenue for the district, this component makes up the largest percentage, about 70 percent. The second highest is state aid, about 10 percent, and the numbers have not been finalized for next year.
On the expense side, the largest percentage of cost is the program and instruction component, which comprised 79.6 percent of the total last year.
Over the next two months, the board will look closely at the numbers and make decisions. One area that was addressed by trustee Gail Nedbor-Gross was the cost of voting, which is expected to increase due to the mandatory implementation of newer, more expensive voting machines. She suggested consolidating into one location for voting, which other board members agreed should be discussed. Superintendent Maria Rianna said she would provide the board with all of the details.
“This is always a difficult presentation,” said Rianna. “So far we have had minimal cuts and have been able to enhance our programs. We will continue to discuss ways to close the budget gap and will talk to local and state officials to discuss alternatives.”
Rianna said one area that would be looked at is transportation and the possibility of providing busing to all students in pre-k through fifth grade. Since this would be a change in board policy, she said this would have to be done through a voter referendum and more details will be provided at a future board meeting.
At the start of the meeting, the board recognized the varsity football team for their outstanding season and being named Conference III Big Four Champions. In addition to recognizing the team’s accomplishments, Coach Pete Kopecky was honored for his 100th career win. Linebacker Gaetano Famiglietti, recipient of the Bill Piner Award, and quarterback Mike Payton, recipient of the National Football Foundation’s Scholar-Athlete Award, were also applauded for their success on and off the field.
Glen Cove High School Principal Antonio Santana was in attendance and presented the team’s captains with a commemorative gold football that was given to the high school by the National Football League Super Bowl High School Honor Roll on behalf of Glen Cove graduate Joe Rizzo (1969). The honor roll celebrates high schools and communities that have contributed to Super Bowl history.
“You played beautifully. You never gave up, and you have made Glen Cove very, very proud,” Rianna said.
The board was also given climate survey presentation on Bridg-IT, a digital communication tool to report and address incidents of bullying. The survey is intended to “get a sense of the environment” in Glen Cove, looking at trends in the district. There will be no cost, the survey is anonymous and is geared towards sixth through 12th graders, parents and all school employees. The process allows the district to track the “full life cycle” of each incident of bullying and bring “restorative justice” to each situation.
During public comment,a parent confronted the board and administration with an issue regarding his daughter, who has Down syndrome. He said she is not getting the services she needs and then questioned the district’s financial practices, as there are purchase orders for items from Valley Sports & Trophy, owned by board president Richard Maccarone.
“We have nothing but transparent and appropriate accounting procedures,” Rianna said.