Valley Stream Central High School District Superintendent Bill Heidenreich and Wayne Loper, assistant superintendent for finance and operations, presented the Board of Education’s proposed $117 million 2018-19 budget to members of the Central High School/Memorial Junior High School Parent Teacher Association at its April 11 meeting. The budget, Loper said, would be 3.25 percent, or just under $3.7 million, larger than the current spending plan.
“It’s a little higher than the last few years, because we have some debt service kicking in because of the bond,” Loper explained, citing the $41 million bond that voters passed in 2016.
More than 80 percent of the proposed budget would go toward educational programs, according to Loper. The budget would enable the district to maintain all of the educational programs now in place at all four schools, and would add additional classes, such as a new high school-level Advanced Placement European history class. It would also fund upgrades to technology at the schools, and allow district students to continue attending BOCES classes, Heidenreich said.
To fund the spending plan, non-tax-revenue sources would include payments in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, interest, fees, reserve funds and state aid, which would total $34.1 million, leaving $82.9 million to be raised
The proposed tax levy would represent an increase of 2.16 percent. “I always tell everyone that listens to me every year that we can’t deficit-spend,” Loper said. “We’re not New York state or the federal government, so to spend a dollar, we have to bring a dollar in.” He also said that the amount taxes would increase for the average taxpayer would depend on Nassau County’s assessment plan.
“The levy should go up 2.16 percent, because that’s how much we’ve raised taxes, but unfortunately Nassau County got ahold of it, and we all know the assessment nightmares that Nassau County has,” Loper said, referring to the disparities in the county’s assessments of homes and businesses.
The Central High School District’s budget will be only one of the propositions voters will see on the ballot on May 15. Other propositions include the elementary school district’s proposed budget, a proposition to use $4.7 million from an existing capital reserve fund for school renovations and a proposition to create a new capital reserve fund of $10 million.
“While we have a $41 million bond, there’s still more work to be done,” Loper said.
Heidenreich also used the opportunity to update the PTA members on the bond. He said that during the summer recess, roofs would be replaced at North High School and Memorial Junior High School “because, obviously, we can’t be ripping the roofs apart when we have thousands of kids in our building.”
Other upcoming work will include construction of artificial-turf fields at South High School, North High School and Memorial Junior High School; restroom renovations; science classroom renovations; and mechanical, ventilation, electrical and masonry upgrades. Work that has already been completed includes entering into an energy performance contract, emergency communication upgrades and interior door replacements, with smaller windows to hide students in a lockout.
Heidenreich also emphasized that the district worked to improve the security in the schools and has installed buttons in each classroom that would initiate a lockout or lockdown. “This is something that’s been in the works for a number of years,” he said.