At the Glen Cove City School District Board of Education meetings in January and on Feb. 10, the draft budget for the 2021 to 2022 school year was presented.
The budget, which is in its preliminary stages, currently has a gap of $536,797. Superintendent for Business Victoria Galante said she would present a balanced budget in March.
Multiple aspects that are Covid-19 related come to mind when looking at this budget, including state and federal aid, a higher demand on the Information Technology Department and mental health services, along with the uncertainty of what exactly the future will look like.
“This happens to be the start of a new season in the school district and that’s called budget season,” Glen Cove City School District Superintendent Dr. Maria L Rianna said. “It begins very early on and actually building principals have spoken and submitted requests in staffing.”
Included in the next school year’s budget is the hiring of Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Kim H. Rodriguez, two additional nurses, a new psychologist, two new social workers to replace recent retirees, a new I.T. Department hire, the hiring of a new, more experienced treasurer and new curriculum coordinators.
“I’m really happy that we’re increasing nurses,” Board of Education trustee Maria Venuto said. “I’m also a big proponent of increasing school based mental health services. I think this year we’ve seen a lot happen with our students that they’re going to need our support.”
The funding for co-curricular activities — $173,300 — is down about $1,100 from last year’s budget. But spending on interscholastic athletics — $855,920 — is the same as last year’s budget.
“Athletics has been limited this year,” said Galante. “So depending on what happens next year, I believe we’ll have enough in the budget for the coaches and the other expenses.”
As for capital outlay projects, there was a $250,000 increase in district expenditures, which Galante believes should help fund one or two big projects.
“We’re been trying since we started doing this to raise it every year,” Galante said. “Last year, we had wanted to bring it up to $850,000, but we didn’t because we wanted to stay below the 2 percent tax cap, or at the 2 percent tax cap.”
Galante said that at this time, the district is presenting the budget as if the next school year will be normal.
“When we develop a budget, we look back on usually three years of data to see what’s happening,” Galante said. “I’m going to be honest with you, that is becoming difficult because when I look back at [the 2019-2020 school year], a lot of things had changed. We were in session in school, but remotely. There were no sports, there were no clubs, so expenses were not the norm. All that has to be taken into consideration.”
The district lost an income that came from the federal CARES Act, but may gain around $3 million in Covid-19 stimulus. It is unclear if this funding will have to be spent on pandemic-related expenses.
The district also took a hit in interest and earnings, from $250,000 to $45,000.
“We have reserves and I want to thank the community for their support year after year of our budget,” Galante said. “So when we come into bad times like now, and the following year or two, they’re seeing it’s going to take three to five years to crawl out of this dark hole a lot of people are in, we do have the reserves to fall back on. And that’s a very good thing.”
The school district should receive $14, 393,688 in state aid, including $9,003,827 in State Foundation Aid. As the district was preparing the budget last year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo had said there could be a 20 percent cut in Foundation Aid.
“The district took an approach and we actually presented the budget with a 10 percent cut, figuring that if there is a 20 percent cut, it will not be as bad if we have to now find 10 percent to balance the budget,” Galante said. “Well that didn’t happen, which is good news.”
At the next Board of Education meeting on Feb. 24, the tax levy limit for the 2021-2022 school year will be discussed, as well as capital outlay projects and an update on the revenue budget.
“When I presented the revenue budget, we didn’t have the executive budget in yet from the state, now we do and I will have a better tax levy number on that budget,” Galante said.
For an exact breakdown of the 2021-2022 budget, visit www.glencove.k12.ny.us.