BY JOE SCOTCHIE
No one can deny the Roslyn School District is one of the most successful in a world of successful school districts on Long Island. That success can come with unintended consequences. At the recent Board of Education meeting, budget presentations were made as the board is drafting its upcoming 2019-20 budget. One of those had to do with the special education budget. Barbara Schwartz, director of the Pupil Personnel Services, revealed the Roslyn district is attracting students from neighboring districts, including Manhasset, Port Washington and East Williston. That factors into the budget, even though Schwartz promised that her proposals would always put Roslyn students first.
Schwartz said the special education budget has grown slightly over the past three years. In the 2017-18 school year, it totaled $2.4 million, rising to $2.6 million in 2018-19. This year, the board is being requested to present a $3 million expenditure in the special education program.
Schwartz said that the district can expect $2.1 in revenue, a number that doesn’t include funding from the Hilltop Academy. All Roslyn School District students must take New York State testing requirements, Schwartz said. State-approved private school students must also take the state Regents. However, non-approved private school students are not subject to the state’s often-rigorous testing. All of this factors into the decisions parents make to send their children to the highly-rated Roslyn district.
Schwartz added that there are 315 special education students in the district, including 81 pre-schoolers. Nineteen students are from out of the district. In all, the up to 9.8 percent of all school district students fall in the special needs category. That number is below the Long Island average of 11 percent, but slightly higher than the New York State average of 9.6 percent. Schwartz was optimistic about revenue projections. She said that projected revenues for the 2018-19 school year were lower than what the district actually drew in, raising hope that the same thing can happen in the coming year.
The meeting kicked off on a lighter note that board members all sang the praises of Shani Sirota, the high school’s freshman gymnastics sensation. At the recent New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Gymnastics championships, held last month in Cold Spring Harbor, Sirota put Roslyn on the map, winning first place in floor exercise, while teaming with Roslyn High School teammate Alexandra Mastrototaro for a third place finish in team competition. Sirota’s other results were All Around: fourth place, Balance Beam: fifth place, Vault: third place, and Uneven Bars: seventh place.
Sirota and her family members were on hand as the young star received a citation from the board.
“Behind every athletic success is a great family and a great coach,” said Meryl Waxman-Ben Levy.
Dave Seinfeld also saluted Sirota, asking her to serve as an inspiration to grade school, middle school and high school students in their own gymnastic endeavors. “Maybe this can be the start of a gymnastics program in the district,” he added.
Shani Sirota (third from left) with her coaches