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Island Park Schools' proposed 2020-21 budget includes Covid-19-related expenses

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Island Park School District’s proposed $40.6 million budget for the 2020-21 school year includes Covid-19 preparations, such as technology for students and protective supplies for school buildings, and maintains all current programs.

The spending plan also includes a tax levy, or total revenue collected from property taxes, of $32.9 million, a 1.55 percent increase from the 2019-20 budget. Board of Education members adopted the proposed budget at its virtual meeting on May 19.

During the meeting, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Rosmarie Bovino spoke about some of the district’s added expenses due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The district will be expanding its “blended learning model,” which entails more digital engagement paired with traditional instruction. This will require supplying third and fourth grade students with Chromebooks; children in higher grades already use them. It also requires repurposing the district’s iPads for use by Kindergarteners to second graders.

Bovino explained that this technology would be especially useful in a situation where students may need to move to remote learning for a few days if someone in the school building were to contract Covid-19 and cleaning needed to be done.

Another added expense is for a program called ClassLink, which will connect all of a student’s multiple log-ins to one account. Once a student logs into the device, they will have Internet access and be logged into all their district-approved applications. “This is going to be wonderful,” Bovino said, “We’re very excited about this, and we have a big plan in place to get all these devices ready for the beginning of August for summer reading.”

Due to Covid-19, the district will purchase sanitization supplies and equipment for custodians. The district will also rearrange its office spaces and add partitions, as well as installing sneeze guards in its offices.

Island Park School District has budgeted for five Island Park residents to attend West Hempstead High School and 303 to attend Long Beach High School. The budget also includes transportation, textbooks and health services for private school students, the purchase of a $60,000 school bus and replacement of outdated computers.

The district will hold a budget hearing via WebEx video conferencing on May 26, at which time it will present the spending plan line by line. Island Park Public Library will also present its budget.

Voting will take place solely via absentee ballots, which are due back on June 9 at 5 p.m. For more information, visit ips.k12.ny.us.