The proposed Lawrence School District budget for the 2019-220 school year is $102, 449,281, identical to the current fiscal plan. Eligible district residents can vote on the tentative spending plan on May 21.
The preliminary tax levy — the amount of money collected through property taxes — is $85,954,300, a tax levy decrease of 0.23 percent. The current tax levy is $86,156,721 with a flat increase. District officials said that the decrease was achieved through a reduction of pensions costs that will offset the staff step increases, and the uptick in state aid, which comes out to exactly $732,739 after the state budget was approved on March 31, for a total of $12,880,4811. There is also expected to be a decline in health service revenue.
Through a $520,000 grant from T-Mobile, the school district distributed Chromebooks with Wi-Fi hotspots to the students. The district aims to but what they are calling a “new cutting edge” math program for grades kindergarten through fifth grade from Houghton Mifflin that includes professional development and training for teachers. Should the budget be approved, Lawrence will also have a summer elementary enrichment program and expand the BOCES vocational program.
Propositions 3, 4 and 5 for $4 million, $5 million and $15 million, respectively, are asking the public’s permission to transfer those amounts to three capital reserve fund, all established by voter referendum in 2015.
The $4 million is for renovations to the high school’s sports and athletics facilities, installation of air conditioning at the Broadway Campus, including refurbishing and locker replacement, and classroom renovations and districtwide security improvements. The Broadway Campus is the former Lawrence Middle School, where both the middle school grades six through eight and the elementary school grades three through five are house.
With the $5 million upgrades are expected to the Broadway Campus’s sports and athletics facilities, high school window replacement and library refurbishing, enhancements to the Broadway Campus kitchen and bathrooms and HVAC improvements to the Campus’s and high school’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
A $15 million transfer is for Federal Emergency Management Agency projects and other upgrades.
Voting on that Tuesday is from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., at the Lawrence Primary at the Number Two School, 1 Donahue Ave., in Inwood; the middle school at the Broadway Campus, 195 Broadway in Lawrence; the high school at 2 Reilly Rd. in Cedarhurst; and Atlantic Beach Village Hall at 65 The Plaza in Atlantic Beach.