A big turnout is expected at this Tuesday’s Valley Stream Central High School District Board of Education meeting where residents can voice their comments and questions regarding the district’s proposed spending cuts, specifically the proposed changes to non-public school transportation.
The board held its monthly committee meeting on March 5 to discuss the proposed cuts of about $2.65 million with dozens of residents on hand, many of whom with children who attend private schools. All committee meetings are open to the public, but residents are not permitted to speak until the business meetings the following week.
In February, the board considered a recommendation by Superintendent Dr. Bill Heidenreich to provide MTA MetroCards instead of school buses to Valley Stream residents who attend three additional non-public schools: Chaminade High School in Mineola, Sacred Heart Academy in Hempstead and the Crescent School in Hempstead. District officials said the transportation changes are expected to save about $120,000.
“Our ability to collect money through the tax levy is capped and our state aid has been decreasing and that really creates a perfect storm where school districts are forced to make some difficult choices,” Heidenreich said.
In order to stay within the tax levy cap, district administrators have proposed cutting 15 full-time teaching positions, six support staff members and three sports teams, among other reductions.
“Our students will have fewer opportunities to take elective courses,” Heidenreich said, “because quite simply they won’t run, and are class sizes will increase where it might not be uncommon where we have classes upwards, in some cases, of 30 students.” He added that this is the fourth consecutive year of cuts in the district.
With the $120,000 the district is proposed to save with the transportation changes, Heidenreich proposed bringing back one English teaching position and offer some electives based on student interest.