Oceanside, Island Park unveil proposed 2019-20 school budgets


Oceanside and Island Park school officials have presented their proposed budgets for the 2019-20 school year, which emphasize facility repairs and security enhancements. Both districts are proposing budgets with tax-levy increases below the state’s 2.67 percent cap.

Oceanside School District

Oceanside projects a budget next year of $157.2 million, a 2.19 percent increase over the 2018-19 spending plan. Officials plan to generate $125.9 million from tax revenue, a 2.3 percent tax-levy increase.

The Board of Education adopted the spending plan after a final budget presentation at the March 20 meeting.

The proposed budget “preserves, enhances and even adds state-of-the-art programs for our children,” said board President Sandie Schoell. “It meets the needs of all of our students, protects the health and safety of our students and our staff, is fair to our employees, addresses all the mandates with regard to safety, mental health and counseling, provides for long-range planning, protects our infrastructure, is fiscally sound and respects, most of all, our taxpayers.”

The spending plan maintains all student programs and services while adding new curricula and staff positions, Assistant Superintendent of Business Christopher Van Cott noted.

The district will also add a new teacher to provide instruction in Mandarin, Chinese and Japanese and another instructor for high school special education. To comply with New York State Education Department regulations effective this summer, the district will seek to hire an elementary school health and wellness provider and a director of data, assessment and administrative services.

Van Cott highlighted key parts of the budget, including money for new playgrounds at Schools No. 2 and 4 and new security systems at all of the schools, which includes hiring a security consulting company. The consultants will play an integral role in security initiatives district-wide, Van Cott explained.

The budget would also fund a replacement message board at the high school and 12 collaborative learning environments — six in the elementary schools and six at the high school — that would have new, flexible furniture to use in computer labs and classrooms.

Van Cott reminded the community of a separate ballot measure in May, in which voters will decide whether to use the district’s capital reserve fund to renovate the high school’s artificial-turf field. This would include adding protective netting around the interior perimeter between the field and track, and replacing three interior doors at the high school. The total of the two projects is not to exceed $800,000. They will be with no additional cost to taxpayers, and are eligible for 45 percent state building aid, school officials said.

Island Park Public Schools

Island Park Public Schools anticipates budgeting $40.3 million, a 1.07 percent increase over the current spending plan. The district plans to generate $32.4 million tax-levy increase from tax revenue, a 1.42 percent tax-levy increase over this year.

Officials presented the proposed budget on March 11, and said they expected to adopt it on April 16.

The spending plan would maintain all current programs and services, according to the district’s business administrator, Albert Chase. “We’re still very healthy financially and able to have low tax and overall budget increases year to year,” he said.

The proposed budget would also put money aside for new English Language Arts program materials, technology upgrades, the purchase of Chromebooks for classroom use, and the introduction of new literacy, reading and writing programs for all grade levels. It also includes high school tuition for Long Beach and West Hempstead high schools, busing to high school, BOCES and private schools and the purchase of one school bus for $60,000.

Additional budget information can be found on the Oceanside and Island Park school district websites. Both districts will present their proposals at upcoming budget hearings before the vote on May 21.