BY DR. ELAINE KANAS
EAST WILLISTON SCHOOL DISTRICT
At the March 2 Budget Workshop, each principal highlighted what the recommended budget for the 2016-17 school year specifically means for their building and where funds will be allocated.
James Bloomgarden, principal of North Side, spoke about the additional teacher that has been added to the budget to maintain class sizes that will average 20.6. An academic support teacher is being recommended so that students in grades K-2 can receive Math AIS support as they now do in grades 3 and 4. Two early intervention teaching assistants will be added to support literacy in the early grades, including the double-dose portion of the Fundations phonics/word work program for students whose progress monitoring indicates additional support. Continued literacy staff development in Reading/Writing workshop and guided reading including a teacher on part-time special assignment for one year to provide onsite staff development support to staff during program implementation. North Side will also benefit from the purchase of two additional Chrome Book Carts, which will provide an additional 50 lap top computers for our students’ academic use.
Stephen Kimmel, principal of Willets Road, shared that the recommended budget contains some additional staff time to support smaller class sizes in grade 7 as well as to provide an additional period of English instruction every other day in that grade. Additional staff is provided in foreign language to offer the opportunity for students who receive additional supports to also have time in their schedule to begin a foreign language before Wheatley. A new Mandarin and Sports Club will be added to the after school enrichment program.
Dr. Sean C. Feeney, principal of The Wheatley School, highlighted the additional teacher and teaching assistant to expand opportunities for students in the Learning Lab as well as providing consultancy services to general education students who need support in organizational and study skills. An exciting new program will be AP Capstone. This course will be offered in 10th grade and builds on and expands our current K-12 research initiative. This course lays the foundation for the in-depth research projects students choose to undertake in grades 11 or 12, in their Science, Social Science or Math Research classes.
Our principals shared updates regarding ongoing and recent building initiatives, as it is always the goal to make decisions that align program and budget choices to successful student academic and social/emotional learning. Bloomgarden shared the student growth on New York State assessments. Kimmel highlighted the progress of students in the Leveled Literacy Intervention reading AIS program (LLI) at Willets Road. Dr. Feeney shared the strong regents scores, highest on-time graduation rate in Nassau County and many student awards.
Jacqueline Pirro, Assistant Superintendent for Business presented an overview of the recommended budget for the next school year. Highlights are:
• Proposed Tax Levy and Recommended Budget are lower than what the district is allowed per the tax cap calculation.
• The Recommended Budget has an increase of 1.83 percent over last year’s budget. (The allowable budget increase is 2.34 percent.) The tax levy has an increase of 0.35 percent over last year’s tax levy. (The allowable tax levy increase is 0.89 percent.)
• The recommended budget is $288,015 below the allowable budget under the tax cap.
If you are not able to attend but have any questions or comments to share, contact me at email@example.com or by phone at 333-3758 or Jacqueline Pirro at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 333-1707.