Sharon Daly implored school board members to reconsider transportation changes.
More than three hours into last week's Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education meeting, at which dozens of angry residents spoke out against proposed spending cuts, the board adopted its 2013-14 budget.
Private-school transportation was the most hotly debated item, in addition to the elimination of three district sports teams — rifle, golf and bowling — before the budget, which incorporates $2.65 million in cuts, was approved by an 8-1 vote on March 12. Board President Tony Iadevaio was the lone “no” vote. The spending plan, which totals $106.2 million, includes a tax levy increase of 3.06 percent, which is the district’s limit under the state tax-levy cap.
There are also administrative and program cuts that, administrators said, would have a significant impact on students. Fifteen full-time teaching positions, several part-time teacher assistants, six part-time teachers, four custodians, one laborer and one clerical position would be dropped.
“These are significant reductions that impact real people who will no longer have jobs in the Valley Stream Central High School District next year,” said Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich.
He also highlighted academic cuts, which include some electives, the seventh-grade science research class, SAT preparation in math and English, and five clubs at each of the four schools.
“As superintendent, I have a fiduciary obligation to look for cost-saving measures,” Heidenreich said, “and as you can see by the recommended reductions here, it touches just about every department in the school district.”
At its work session in February, the board approved transportation changes for three private schools whose students live in the Valley Stream district — Chaminade High School in Mineola, Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and the Crescent School in Hempstead. Providing approximately 90 students at those schools with MetroCards for MTA transportation, instead of school buses, is expected to save about $120,000. Heidenreich said that the district currently provides MetroCards to students who live in Valley Stream but attend any of 25 other private schools, which saves the district an estimated $400,000 to $500,000 per year.