By a vote of 1,140 to 462, residents overwhelmingly approved the Long Beach School District’s $131.9 million budget for 2015-16 on Tuesday. The 71 percent approval is the largest passing margin in more than 15 years, school officials said.
The spending plan a 1.48 percent larger than the current budget, and includes a 3.19 percent tax levy increase, the maximum allowed amount under the state’s tax cap. School officials say it will help the district get on a path to long-term financial sustainability and rely less on its reserve funds in the future.
“We thank the community for supporting our schools, and also thank the board and administrators for their hard work throughout the budget process in balancing student needs with taxpayer concerns,” Superintendent of Schools David Weiss said.
Board of Education President Darlene Tangney and Vice President Stewart Mininsky were re-elected. Both were running unopposed. “I would like to thank the voters for coming out in support of our school district budget,” Tangney said, “and having the trust in us as a board that we are fiscally responsible while offering the best education to our students.”
A past president of several PTAs, Tangney has served on the board since 2009. Asked about the highlights of her tenure, she named the opening of the high school’s video and sound studio, and its artificial-turf field.
Despite the lack of opposition, she said she had no plans to rest on her laurels during her next term. “I am very proud of our accomplishments and honored to represent our community,” she said. “I will continue being fiscally responsible to the taxpayers and residents of Long Beach, while advocating for the academic needs of our students. I am very proud of our schools, students, staff and our facilities.”
The spending plan includes additional special-education teachers, a part-time psychologist, three new English as a New Language positions, arts program instructors, a new fifth-grade elementary teacher, permanent substitutes for the middle and high schools and math and literacy coaches for the elementary schools.
Residents also approved a library budget of approximately $3.4 million, a slight increase over the current spending plan. The construction of a new West End branch library is nearing completion.
In the race for a contested seat on the library board that is soon to be vacated by Kathleen Dwyer, who did not seek re-election, Barbara Mosca pulled off a victory over Joseph Lee. She will serve a five-year term.