Next year’s budget passes by a wide margin

Sally Kuan, Staff Writer

With the school’s programing plans for next year hanging in the balance, the vote for the 2013-2014-school budget was held on May 21.

“It is essential for the budget to be strong, especially in this time with the imposed tax cap, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain our programs,” said Principal Mr. Ira Pernick.

Budget planning began in early February, and culminated in a 70% or 2451-1047 victory.  This puts into effect the $138 million plan that had been proposed in late April. However, a $5.2 million increase from last year will result in a 3.29 percent increase in collective taxes on property within the district.

Although some may believe that this will create a potential burden on taxpayers, the budget does remain within the tax cap levy limit of the state.

“It was designed to sustain the district’s high quality education and minimize the impact on the taxpayers,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney.  “It is a fair, balanced budget.”

The new budget will bring about changes throughout the district, starting with the staff—it will provide salaries to pay for three employees in charge of running the Port Enrichment Program (PEP), as well as one for staff development.

Furthermore, librarians will be hired full-time at all schools in the district.  The budget will also improve the security of schools by adding four guards and a new lock system for doors.

Likewise, the increased budget will fund educational tools, such as Smart Boards, throughout the district. Half of the cost for computerized assessments in the future will be accounted for.

Many of the districts amenities will also be maintained.  Athletic facilities as well as fields and equipment will be funded.  Other existing extracurricular activities, clubs, and sports will be maintained as well.

“I am very pleased that the community chose to support the budget this year,” said Assistant Superintendent Ms. Mary Callahan.  “The Board of Education, the Administration, the teachers and all the support staff worked together to find ways to maintain student programs and live within the Legislative school tax levy limit formula.”

The process for coming up with this budget plan spanned the course of several months.  The first session was held on Feb. 5. After several work sessions for proposing ideas and organizing, the budget was adopted by the Board of Education on April 17.

The voting for the budget is done similarly to votes for political office.  There is a secret ballot where the voter enters a booth and places their vote.  Polls are held in various locations throughout Port Washington, including several elementary schools, Weber Middle School, the United Methodist Church, and various village halls.

The individual votes are later counted by volunteers. The budget passes if the majority, meaning over fifty percent, vote yes to the plan.

The student body of Schreiber shares opinions in respect to the new budget. Many individuals agree that the new policy would be beneficial.

“I think the fact that the budget passed shows the continued support of the public for the education system,” said sophomore Crystal Ren.  “It will allow us to keep our clubs and extracurricular activities.  It’s worthwhile even though it adds a slight burden on taxes.”

“I think it’s great because hopefully there will be more supplies available such as paper towels, pencils, and tissues— especially for during the allergy season,” said sophomore Roberto Vides.

Even some students who will not be returning next year find the budget a topic of concern.

“Being a senior, I’m not really affected by it.  However, I think it is a necessary burden for the furthering of the American youth.  Education is the cornerstone of society,” said senior Matthew Rybecky.

Schreiber staff members and school district administrators also voiced similar outlooks as to the beneficial quality of the new budget.

“I’m glad that the budget passed.  I think it’s good news for the students, families, and teachers that lives in Port” said art teacher Ms. Miranda Best. “It’s nice to see the community supporting the schools and it really will benefit everyone.”

District officials share similar opinons.

“I am very grateful to the community for their overwhelming support of the school budget,” said Dr. Mooney. “We had a 70% passing rate and that is a strong vote of confidence for our educational programs.”

“The whole school system is driven by the money that is generated by the budget,” says Mr. Pernick.  “It provides for all of the programs and services offered here at Schreiber and throughout the district. There is no substitute for a healthy and robust budget.”

The Board of Education and District Administration plans to continue working together with their bargaining units, parents, and the community to develop school budgets that could meet student needs within the tax cap levy limit for future years to come.