The East Meadow community will be getting a boost because of the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that will provide for Americans.
Approximately $126 billion of the funds are for public primary and secondary schools and the state will be allocating over $5 million towards the East Meadow School District.
Dr. Patrick Pizzo, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, said those monies are coming to the district like a grant over the next years to come to cover lost of learning costs and other Covid-19 related expenses. What the district will do with the money is still being decided.
But additional federal funding, that is separate from the American Rescue Plan, boosted the State’s Foundation Aid, allowing East Meadow Schools to increase its adopted budget from approximately $217.6 million to $218.9 million while benefiting the taxpayer, as the tax levy has been adjusted from $145.8 million to $145.2 million.
“Our allowable levy is still 1.88 and that was what was approved April 7,” said Dr. Patrick Pizzo, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, at an April 28 Board of Education meeting. “[The funding] doesn’t change our allowable limit, but what can change is we have the ability to access lower than what our allowable cap is. What we’ve done is adjust it down beneath that absolute cap, a figure of 1.5 percent.”
The increase in the budget due to an increase in state aid, said Superintendent Dr. Kenneth A. Card, will allow the district to address certain needs across the school facilities.
Monies will be allocated towards technological infrastructure projects, such as expanding and enhancing the district website, Card said, and installing screens in school windows.
“That is very critical, given the fact that most windows have to remain open to add additional ventilation in classrooms,” Card said.
District parents on the board were also happy to hear that the screens will prevent bees from flying into the classrooms in the fall.
“Ultimately what it comes down to is we’re going to be able to get additional work done, which is great, and we’re going to be able to support our partnership with the taxpayers by accessing less, over a half million,” Pizzo said. “It’s a benefit for the district, a benefit to the students and a benefit for our taxpayers and for our needs going forward.”
Residents within the East Meadow School District will have the chance to vote on the adopted budget, and their Board of Education trustee candidates on May 18 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at all elementary schools.
State Sen. Kevin Thomas on May 3 also provided a presentation in collaboration with certified financial planner Susan Silverman Quigley about how the American Rescue Plan will benefit many. “We want make sure our constituents are well informed because finances are very important and makes for a very healthy community,” Thomas said.
“I know there’s a lot of talk on television about how spending so much on the economy could hurt the economy,” Quigley said. “The impact of this infusion of cash actually helps the economy more than it hurts the economy. In the long run, when we spend money on unemployment, when we lift children out of poverty, when we help people pay for child care it has so much more of a positive impact.”
The child tax credit expansion would lift $4.1 million children out of poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Biden administration estimates that $3.6 million uninsured people are now eligible for ACA subsidies. An additional $9 million will see savings.
Further, Quigley said, money spent on unemployment will go back into the economy, as people receiving unemployment benefits often spend it on food, clothing or other goods or services, which keeps others employed.
“I think it’s money well spent that will help the greater good,” Quigley said.