The Budget Advisory Committee — a group of community members that reviews the district’s fiscal information and makes recommendations to the board — also made its presentation at last week’s meeting. The committee’s biggest grievance was that the district was spending far more per child — at $30,000 — compared to other comparable districts in Nassau County.
“We want the district to reduce the amount spent to educate a child, while raising quality and results,” said Michael Abneri, the committee’s chairperson.
But Weiss and DeVito said that that figure is inaccurate and that actual per pupil spending was lower.
Abneri said that food service has cost the district nearly $500,000 per year over the last two years. The committee suggested doing more to encourage those eligible for free and reduced lunch to take advantage of the service because the district gets reimbursed for those meals. The committee proposed eliminating a la carte items, saying that the state only contributes money to whole meals.
The committee thought that, at five percent of the entire budget, the district is also spending too much on transportation. It challenged the need for three late buses, and proposed that students who stay late could take a city bus home. Abneri suggested that the district could provide the students with bus passes, and add stops closer to the schools.
However, student representatives in the audience did not think this was a good idea. Students said that many rely on the late bus and are used regularly after school. They also said that students would not have the same respect for a city bus driver as they do for a school bus driver.
“Kids would act more rowdy on city buses,” said Long Beach High School senior David Velez.