Enrollment Up, Budget Too

After weeks of review, the Springs School Board presented a final 2014-15 budget of $26.6 million last Thursday. Since last month’s meeting, the proposed budget has gone up more than $300,000, mainly due to an increase in enrollment and the consequent need for more personnel.

According to Eric Casale, the principal, enrollment now stands at 733 students in grades pre-K to 8. A year ago at this time, Springs had 701 students. Already, said Mr. Casale, 30 children have registered for pre-K in the fall and 62 for kindergarten.

The proposed budget includes funds for a possible additional kindergarten class next year. It also covers tuition for a projected 270 high school students. By the 2020-21 school year, high school enrollment is expected to swell to 378.

Thomas Primiano, the school’s treasurer, said that between part-time and full-time positions, a total of 7.8 jobs would be added, in addition to a part-time Hispanic liaison. The more than $300,000 budget increase, he said, includes $151,000 for the additional staff and $125,000 to make the superintendent’s job, which is currently part-time, a full-time position.

The board president, Elizabeth Mendelman, explained earlier this week that with the increased number of students, the school needed a full-time superintendent. 

A seventh bus route will be added due to increased ridership, said Mr. Primiano, observing that each bus will keep 36 cars off the road.

  The $26.6 million budget represents a 4.9 percent increase over the current budget, $25.4 million. The tax levy would increase by 3.18 percent, which is under the state tax cap after exemptions are taken into account.

As reported previously, for homeowners whose houses are valued at $400,000, the increase would result in a tax hike of $163. Properties valued at $600,000 would see an increase of $245, while those valued at $800,000 would pay $326 more.

The meeting began with a presentation by Sara Faulkner, a local artist and parent, and Colleen McGowan, the school’s art teacher, concerning next week’s Mystery Art Sale. The sale begins on Wednesday, with each work, no matter the artist, priced at $20. The works will be signed, but only on the back, and they cannot be taken off the walls until paid for. All proceeds will benefit the Visiting Artists Program, which brings professional artists into the school. So far, more than 700 pieces have been received, including some 500 created by Springs students.

According to John Finello, the superintendent, the school will soon unveil its new website. Michael Conte of Syntax Communications Group, a consulting firm that works with school districts across Long Island, said the site would go live in six to eight weeks.

The school board will next meet on Monday at 7:30 p.m., to adopt the proposed budget.