February 20, 2013 | 735 views
Grant gives programs a boost in District 30
Thanks to a substantial decrease in transportation costs, a performance grant and a half-year freeze in Step salary increases for teachers, the Valley Stream District 30 preliminary school budget for 2013-14 should mean a minor tax increase for residents.
Superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling and his administrative team gave the community its first look at the proposed spending plan for District 30 at a forum at the Forest Road School on Feb. 13.
The proposed 2013-14 budget of $33.2 million is an increase of a little more than $800,000, or 2.48 percent, over the current year. The tax levy would rise 2.34 percent to $26,591,128, which is less than the allowable maximum tax levy so a simple majority vote would be needed for the budget to pass in May.
Driving the budget increase are numerous mandated expenses. Health insurance premiums are rising 10 percent, and contributions to the state retirement funds for teachers and staff are also increasing drastically. There is a technology initiative in place allowing for more iPads for instruction and additional interactive white boards for classrooms.
Stirling and his team began working on a preliminary spending plan in November. “We are very conscious about the dollars we are proposing for our budget, but at the same time we are committed to a program of excellence and it does cost for that,” he said, “but we have to make it economically sound as members of the school community.”
He and Assistant Superintendent for Business Lisa Rutkoske credited cuts in previous budgets for this year’s low increase. “We also looked at all of our budget lines and we made reductions in our budget lines to the point where we are just having enough to get by in terms of what we need,” Stirling said.
A decrease in transportation costs of 14 percent, or $131,600, gave the budget a much needed boost. Also, district officials are most proud of a performance grant for high student achievement, which netted the district a quarter of a million dollars and is funding some salaries as well as technology initiatives.