Voters pass 2024-25 city school district budget


Residents approved the Long Beach school district’s 2024-25 budget on Tuesday night by a vote of 1,466 to 439.

The $155.9 million spending plan is 2.85 percent larger than this year’s budget. It maintains teacher and staff salaries and educational programs, and covers school maintenance and administrative costs.

Incumbents Sam Pinto and Alexis Pace were re-elected to the Board of Education, defeating challengers Harold Webb and Kristin McChesney, with 1,008 and 890 votes, respectively.

“I would like to thank the community for their confidence in me and support,” Pace said. “I congratulate Sam Pinto and thank the other candidates for entering the race. I’m excited to continue serving the Long Beach school community.”

Pinto expressed similar sentiments. “I’d like to express my gratitude to the community for their support of the budget,” he said, “and their continued confidence in my stewardship as a Board of Education trustee.”

Initially, administrators were concerned about Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed $3.3 million cut in state aid for the district, which could have led to a school closure and staff layoffs. But the district ultimately received a $352,000 increase in state aid, bringing its total to $27.3 million.

In February, elected officials, parents, educators, students and residents gathered at the district administration building to protest the governor’s proposed cuts. State Sen. Patricia Canzoneri-Fitzpatrick and Superintendent Jennifer Gallagher detailed the severe impact of the proposed reduction in foundation aid, warning that it could lead to larger class sizes and the elimination of programs in a district where 30 percent of students live below the state poverty threshold.

Additionally, there were concerns about the potential “repurposing” of East Elementary School. Under the proposed plan, administrators at the school would have moved to Lindell and Lido elementary schools, and two assistant principal positions might have been eliminated. But the final increase in state aid rendered those steps unnecessary.

The spending plan includes a $1.6 million, or 1.5 percent, increase in the tax levy, while projected revenue from other sources declined slightly, by $183,000, to a total of $13.7 million. The district’s appropriated fund balance is anticipated to grow by just over $500,000, to $1.5 million. Additionally, the Long Island Power Authority’s payment in lieu of taxes to the district will increase by roughly $85,600, to $4.4 million.

Proposition 2, which also passed, focused on infrastructure improvements. It encompasses the replacement of the synthetic turf field at Veterans Field, the renovation of doors and windows at the middle school, repairs to Reynolds Channel bulkheading at Lindell Elementary, the installation of acoustic panels in the Lindell gym, and the removal of a fuel tank at the transportation department.

Proposition 3, which passed as well, will introduce measures to improve the district’s financial management, and ensure that any surplus at the end of the fiscal year will be allocated to reserve funds for future use. The financial plan aims to enhance the district’s fiscal stability and flexibility.

As always, residents were actively involved throughout the budget planning process. Many attended meetings, participated in discussions, and voiced their concerns and suggestions, helping to shape a spending plan that reflects the community’s priorities.