Valley Stream School District 24’s Board of Education voted unanimously on April 11 to adopt a $28.75 million budget that voters can approve or deny on May 15. The proposed 2018 – 19 budget would be $1,104,136 higher from the current budget, or a 3.99 percent increase.
Driving the increase are security enhancements, additional mental health programs, expansion of the district’s science curriculum, virtual reality programs, district-wide keyboarding classes and upgrades to the parents’ portal. In fact, programming would account for about 77.5 percent of the district’s expenditures for next year. Other increases include a 2 percent increase to contractual salary increases and a 10 percent increase to employee benefits.
To fund these enhancements, the district is proposing a $20.6 million tax levy, or an increase of less than 2.4 percent. The average taxpayer in District 24 would pay an additional $118 under the proposed 2018 – 19 budget, according to Jack Mitchell, the director of finance and operations.
At the meeting on April 11, Superintendent Ed Fale said that the increase is less than Nassau and Suffolk County’s average tax levy of about 2.5 percent. He also said that the proposed tax levy would not pierce the tax cap.
The Board of Education also discussed whether they would hire a second full-time mental health professional or hire a part-time mental health professional. Fale said that the budget had enough flexibility that the district could accommodate a second full-time position, and the Board tabled the discussion for a later meeting.