East Meadow School District budget focuses on security and students


The East Meadow School District is looking to implement a number of improvements to security, staffing and student services in its 2018-19 budget.

On March 22, the Board of Education outlined the budget and the changes it is seeking to implement, including the hiring of 11 additional security guards, an identification system for students and a visitor-monitoring system.

“I believe and I think many districts believe that security is going to be a bigger part of all of our budgets going forward,” said Patrick Pizzo, the assistant superintendent for business and finance.

The 2018-19 tax levy is, by state law, allowed to rise by 2.97 percent, according to district officials. The tax levy is the total amount that a district must collect in taxes to meet expenses.

Next year’s budget is projected at roughly $136.45 million. This figures includes $317,350 to hire 10 guards — one for each school — and one who will visit each building; $53,138 for a visitor-monitoring system that has been tested at three schools buildings this year; and $4,590 for an ID card-based student identification system.

The district will also join the Nassau County Police Department’s Rave Mobile Safety system, which is free of charge and allows police to respond more efficiently in response to an active-shooter situation.

Administration costs are projected to increase by $536,244, which includes the hiring of three teaching assistants, a special-education teacher and an additional STEM teacher to help coordinate with the newly expanded elementary school STEAM program.

The district is also seeking to hire a guidance director who would take on multiple roles throughout the district. Superintendent Kenneth Card explained that this person would prepare students for either college or alternative routes, such as vocational training. “One thing we should be mindful of is that not everybody wants to go to college,” he said. “But they should all have the option to.”

The guidance director would also pilot a mental-health education program that will begin with sixth-grade students.

Residents will vote on the budget on May 15 in four parts, including school district and library budgets. This also includes Proposition Two, which, if passed by voters, would allow the district to establish its first capital reserve fund with the money left over from its 2018-19 budget, and Proposition Three, which would alter the board election process. Under the current voting process, new candidates specify the incumbents against whom they wish to run. The new system would pit all candidates against one another for all open seats. It’s called at-large voting.

Voter registration will take place from May 1 to 7 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Leon J. Campo Salisbury Center, and evening registration will take place on May 3 from 7 to 8 p.m.