Proposed Lawrence budget to be unveiled at BOE meeting

District trend: Minimal spending and tax increases, programs being added

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Lawrence School District officials are expected to present the preliminary budget for the 2019-2020 school year at the Board of Education meeting at Lawrence School at 8 p.m. on March 11.

The current operating budget that was approved last May is $102.44 million, which included a 1.65 percent over the previous year’s fiscal plan and no tax-cap increase. The tax-cap is a state-imposed figure aimed to tamp down tax increases. The tax levy — the amount of money collected through property taxes — for the present budget is roughly $86 million.

Assistant Superintendent for Operations Jeremy Feder said that no budget increase is planned.

Last year, after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed, including 15 students, security was a huge concern. Lawrence supported a $4 million capital improvement plan that funded security improvements ranging from cameras at all district schools and having one-button lockdown for emergencies and lockdown strobe lights.

Superintendent Dr. Ann Pedersen said previously: “Safety and security are always in the forefront of the decisions we make,” she said, about protecting the 2,713 students that attend school in the district’s four buildings, including the middle school that also houses Lawrence Elementary School.

In the past few years, the district has also added programs such as 3-D printing and coding classes to the addition of a Mandarin Chinese language elective and partnering with Nassau BOCES Barry Tech to create a certified nursing assistant program, which according to district officials has been a success during its inaugural year.

Voting for the school budget and Board of Education trustees takes place on Tuesday, May 21.