Oceanside, Island Park submit final proposed school budgets


Editor's note:   A previous  version of the story had a few errors in it, as outlined by the following statement from Superintendent of Schools Dr. Phyllis Harrington. We regret the errors, and they have been fixed in the story below. 

"Dear community:
Please be advised that the article in the Oceanside/ Island Park Herald regarding our school budget has wrong information. The Herald has already removed the article from their website and will be issuing a retraction or correction.

The Herald inaccurately stated that Oceanside Schools is hiring 40-50 teachers and custodial staff. That is NOT ACCURATE.  These staff members were hired for the 2020-21 school year to support our district through the pandemic. The positions are no longer necessary and therefore not part of the proposed 2021-2022 budget.

The Herald also inaccurately stated that we will continue to purchase additional PPE equipment such as masks and desk barriers. Again, this is  NOT ACCURATE .  While we will maintain all safety precautions, there are no additional costs in the proposed budget.

To be clear, our proposed budget is an increase of 1.57% and our tax levy is UNDER THE TAX CAP.  This year's budget maintains the previous programs we have been exceptionally proud of and wish to continue. 

If you have any questions regarding the budget we welcome you to reach out to Mr. Cokley , the Assistant Superintendent of Business and Operations at 516-678-1209."

-Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Harrington

. . .

The Oceanside and Island Park school districts have announced their proposed budgets ahead of the May 18 vote. Both the hamlet and the village’s budgets see increases from 2020-21 to 2021-22.

The Oceanside proposal projects a $163.4 million budget, an increase of 1.57 percent from the actual 2020-21 budget. The tax levy, revenue collected from property taxes, would increase by 2.01 percent.

Oceanside UFSD will be introducing a teacher’s college writing curriculum and phasing in the I-Ready program into grades seven and eight to help asses students’ strengths and weaknesses to tailor instruction to each student.

As part of the focus on students’ mental health coming out of the pandemic, Oceanside High School will be offering a wellness center as a quiet place to destress and reach out for support where needed.

Jerel Cokley, assistant superintendent for business and operations for Oceanside, said the district strives to be as taxpayer friendly as it can by ironing out the other two revenue sources: state aid and local sources first, so the tax levy covers the remaining balance at a more exact number.

“The projected increase of aid is definitely a welcome addition and a welcome sight,” Cokley said. According to Cokley, state aid covers “a good portion of all of the expenditures we have purposed.” Those expenditures being education and programmatic needs of students.

The Island Park proposal totals approximately $40.9 million, a very slight uptick from the final 2020-21 budget. Part of that 0.7 percent budget-to-budget increase is going to replace outdated student computing devices and to provide PPE and sanitary supplies for in-person classes.

The district is allocating funding to expand living environment classes to all eighth graders and to increase opportunities for students to take the Algebra 1 Regents for the 2022-23 school year. Additionally, the district is focusing funds to curriculum projects for science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics.

In a newsletter to residents, Superintendent of Schools Vincent Randazzo said the proposed budget would continue the “four R” approach to restart, reassure, reengage, and reinvigorate the school community.

On both Oceanside and Island Park ballots, residents will also vote on Proposition No. 2, which would allocate state aid to energy conservation measures at the district level. If approved, the three percent currently provided can be increased by as much as ten percent at no cost to the taxpayers as the estimated costs would be paid for by the energy cost savings.

Oceanside and Island Park residents will be voting on the school budgets, the School District Capital Project Proposition, and for candidates for their respective boards of education on May 18.