Since January, most meetings of the Glen Cove Board of Education have included discussion about the district’s 2019-20 budget. During its meeting on April 16 those discussions came to a head when the board unanimously adopted its budget for the next school year — $91.2 million.
Victoria Galante, assistant superintendent for business, shared the details of the budget: $75.7 million for programs, $8.1 million for capital projects and $7.4 million for administrative costs.
The district will also see a 1.99 percent increase in its tax levy — the amount of money the district will collect in taxes from taxpayers — an increase of roughly $1.4 million.
If the budget passes, one of the biggest changes coming to the district will be the institution of a nine-period day at the high school. This will allow students to take on additional coursework while also providing them with a mandated lunch period. In doing so, the district will be bringing on five to seven new teachers. According to Superintendent Dr. Maria Rianna, some of these teachers may be part-time. An additional guidance counselor will be hired as well.
The district will also continue to work toward increasing security throughout each building. The high school is set to receive a new booth for its security officers, and new cameras will be installed at all of the schools. Lockdown systems will also be installed at GCHS, Gribbin and Landing Elementary schools.
The district also aims to replace the roof at Landing and install a new PA system at Deasy Elementary School. “[Those] were two of the smaller projects that were in the bond that we decided to pull out and address because they are somewhat emergency projects,” said Galante.
Replacements to the lighting and curtain rigging in Finley Middle School and the high school’s auditoriums were originally in the budget. However, Assemblyman Chuck Lavine, a Democrat from Glen Cove, provided the district with a $250,000 grant covering the cost of those improvements.
Christopher Moll, who has a daughter at Finley, has worked in the middle school’s auditorium as the director of Jazz Hand’s Children’s Theatre. He said in the past that the lighting in the auditorium is unsafe.
“I think that a lot of people have worked really hard to get Glen Cove more money that we deserve,” Moll said in the days after the presentation, “and I am excited that the administration is going to put something extra into those theaters.”
Moll said he is looking forward to putting on bigger and better shows without having to worry about the lighting as a safety hazard.
After detailing the improvements, Galante said that voters would also have the opportunity to decide if they want a capital reserve, which would be funds set aside for the purpose of improving school facilities.
“It’s a mechanism to help us budget properly,” Galante said of the capital reserve, “and to help us have extra funds to set aside for emergency projects or just for any type of capital project that we would want to do without a bond or in conjunction with a bond.”
Several of the repairs and improvements included in the budget were made possible thanks to lobbying efforts by Rianna, Senator Jim Gaughran, a Democrat from Northport, and two Glen Cove parents. Through these efforts, the district was able to garner an extra $1.2 million in Foundation Aid funding from Albany.
“The fight is not over yet,” Rianna said. “We still are not fully funded, although we did move considerably this year.” She plans to continue to work with other districts in the Harmed Suburban Five, she said, to further improve state aid in the future.
The Glen Cove Board of Education will host a budget hearing at 7 p.m. on May 8 at Glen Cove High School before its normally scheduled meeting, also at the high school. Residents will have a chance to approve the budget and vote on whether to establish a capital reserve on May 21.