Superintendent Column: Budgets

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East Williston School Superintendent Elaine Kanas
East Williston School Superintendent Elaine Kanas

-By Elaine Kanas

Last month, the first of the Board of Education budget workshops was held. Each budget session focuses on a different component of the budget with the last session being the time when the board holds their final deliberations and adopts a budget for the community to vote on at the budget and school board candidates vote on Tuesday, May 19 in the Wheatley Gymnasium, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. 

Dates of the upcoming workshops are:
• Wednesday, March 18, a line-by-line review of the budget at 7:30 p.m. in Room 450 at Wheatley High School
• Wednesday, March 25, budget Deliberations at 7:30 p.m. in Room 450 at Wheatley High School
• Monday, March 30, Final budget deliberations and special meeting for the purpose of adoption of Budget & Property tax card at 7:30 p.m. in Room 450 at Wheatley High School

At the first budget meeting, Assistant Superintendent for Business Jacqueline Pirro and myself presented the board with a preliminary recommended 2015-16 budget for their review and discussion during the upcoming budget workshops and deliberations. The theme of the presentation and the direction of the recommended budget is “Building Capacity and Planning for the Future.” The proposed budget continues our current education programs and opportunities for our students including maintaining class size and our full component of enrichment and co-curricular programs. It also adds new educational opportunities.

The budget/spending plan is designed to continue to move forward community priorities from our strategic plan, as well as providing for educational investments that not only support next year’s needs, but will also maintain and further grow our program in future years.

In curriculum and instruction these new opportunities include:

• Continued staff development in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), literacy, instructional technology, integrated co-teaching and curriculum design which enables our staff to continue to offer the most up-to-date instruction directly linked to student learning
• Supplies new classroom resources such as differentiated class libraries for K-6
• Expands our research program for students in grades K-12
• Introduces SIM (Strategic Instruction Model) for students who struggle with writing
• Implements Year Two of our Project Lead The Way Engineering Sequence
• Continues development and implementation of Next Generation Science Units in Grades K-6
• Supports a high school computer sequence that coordinates with our engineering sequence and provides opportunities for those students who wish to enroll in a dual Computer Science/Engineering Track or stand-alone classes for students interested in computer science and engineering courses outside of a full sequence course of study.
• Expanded STEM events at North Side and Willets Road
• Robotics Club at Willets Road
• A dedicated Math and dedicated ELA support teacher at Willets Road for grades 5 and 6
• Additional Academic Support Teacher at North Side
• Reintroduction of fifth grade intramural program at Willets Road
• Expanded special education models

Health and Safety Projects include:

• Upgrades to fire alarm systems and security systems
• Enhanced security devices
• Upgrades to sidewalks and exterior lighting
• Extended fencing at baseball and softball fields

This budget builds on the cost savings that our staff has undertaken over the past two years. The 2015-16 budget recommendation presented at Wednesday’s Budget Workshop once again falls below the district’s allowable property tax levy cap.
To view specific information regarding the proposed budget, as well as details of the capital and administrative components of the budget that were presented on Wednesday, go to the district website at www.ewsdonline.org.
Each week after a workshop, the webpage will be updated with the latest presentation and information. If you have any questions, call either Mrs. Pirro at 333-1707 or email her at pirroj@ewsdonline.org or call me at 333-3758 or email me at kanase@ewsdonline.org.

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