The Levittown Board of Education revealed the third draft of its proposed 2018-19 school budget on Feb. 28, projecting an overall year-to-year budget increase of 2.7 percent. Within that budget, the board plans to increase the academics and health, phys. ed. and athletics budgets by $537,347.
The rise in education costs is in line with recently approved New York State Next Generation Learning Standards, as well as the district’s new education initiatives, which include curriculum enhancements and updated computers and software.
In total, the proposed curriculum budget for the 2018-19 school year will be about $8 million, and the health and athletics budget will be about $800,000. Each represents about a 6 to 7 percent increase over the current school year.
The state Board of Regents expects all public school districts to implement its new Math and ELA standards by September 2020 and will roll out new exams for third - through eighth-graders in the spring of 2021.
The proposed Levittown School District academic budget increase is due in part to a rise in computer instruction costs, according to Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Todd Winch. The board plans to spend an additional $355,520, or 10.35 percent, during the next school year to refresh old equipment, renew software licenses and meet state mandates.
Other planned increases in curriculum spending include training and travel for teachers to learn the new statewide learning standards, and more BOCES-related spending.
Winch noted some of the district’s academic extracurricular success, such as both high schools’ Science Olympiad teams, in proposing a student participation fee increase of $16,090, or 11.63 percent, for the 2018-19 school year. He explained that students are qualifying for more statewide events, and need to be fully funded for them.
For health, phys. ed. and athletics, Winch said the planned increases would fund installations and repairs around the district. These installations include sound systems in all elementary schools and replacement of high school wrestling mats.
Winch also revealed curriculum initiatives for the district’s upcoming school year, including introductory courses for statistics and cybersecurity, as well as a college biology class through Molloy College and a personal wellness elective.
Along with those new classes, the district’s 12th grade English program will see a major change, as students will be able to choose between The College Writer, a class to help them develop skills to use in undergraduate education, or the literary-focused Monsters and Heroes.
For the upcoming summer, the district wants to offer a robotics program that builds on current in-school instruction on robotics in a variety of grades and classes.
Outside of new courses, the district is looking to expand online student course registration and the use of technological devices such as laptops and tablets for learning purposes.
The Board has until March 28 to finalize a budget for the public’s review. Board members and the administrators will spend April and May presenting their proposed budget to the public and the public will vote on the budget May 15.
A presentation on the board’s proposed secondary staffing and enrollment budgets, as well as five-year fund balance projections, was to be presented on March 7, after press time.