The Board of Education and I are grateful for the community support of the 2019-20 school budget and approval of capital reserve spending. We are pleased that for the fifth year in a row we proposed a budget with no tax levy increase. In fact, there will be a decrease to the tax levy. The budget was a fine balance of fiscal responsibility and ensuring our programs were not only intact, but also enhanced. It is important to note that while the budget is constructed with careful fiscal management, the programs, resources and opportunities for our students are a driving force in the budget development. We are mindful that we are preparing the next generation to take their place in society as globally confident citizens in an ever-evolving world. All of our students deserve world-class opportunities in order to fulfill their greatest potential. I am proud of the amazing opportunities Freeport Public Schools affords our students.
Freeport Public Schools has a robust strategic plan that maps out our major objectives and the steps to reaching them. The goal of our school system is to provide a safe and secure environment for our students and staff, where all children can embrace learning and be college, career and life ready upon graduation. We are committed to providing the means for intellectual, emotional, ethical, social and physical growth, which will assist every student in becoming an informed and productive participant in our democratic society. They leave us as happy, healthy, well educated, caring individuals striving to make the world a better place.
Freeport is and has always been about the value of educating the whole child, which goes beyond classroom instruction. We have been innovators of education for many years. Freeport was the first school district on Long Island to offer Magnet Schools – School of Choice – where parents have an opportunity to request which elementary school their children attend.
The Magnet Schools all teach the core curriculum while focusing on various areas of academic interest including language arts, mathematics, STEM, the arts and exploration. Freeport was also one of the first to start kindergarten classes and offer pre-k classes. We have partnered with a college to provide an exemplary pre-k program. Our district has provided a full-day kindergarten program for many years.
Freeport Schools provides opportunities for our students to excel in college, career and life through outstanding academic, extra-curricular, athletic and the arts opportunities. Our budget supports the addition of five Advanced Placement courses for a total of twenty-seven classes. The dual enrollment classes will add two courses with twenty-nine offerings leading to seventy college credits. We are adding a guidance counselor at Caroline G. Atkinson and additional staff and classes to support English Language Learners and special education in the district. I envision all of our students taking at least one or two Advanced Placements courses. We have initiated a Pathways Program of multiyear academic and technology study within career clusters. Our Science Research program has received the highest accolades from world-renowned scientists as providing our students with opportunities to conduct research on levels usually seen in college.
Our budget will allow us to continue to provide our students and families with the world class opportunities to succeed in all aspects of their lives by encouraging our students to challenge themselves to reach their full potential embracing critical, creative thinking and being true problem solvers. Our increased graduation rate, student academic success, and the recognition we have received for programs in the arts, music and athletics all illustrate the spirit and dynamic atmosphere that characterize Freeport Schools. The goals of Freeport Schools along with our robust programs and services are integrally connected to our fiscally responsible approach to our budget planning. We have carefully planned for another successful year moving forward for our students. Thank you all for your continued support. Together we will work to reach even greater heights.
Dr. Kishore Kuncham is the superintendent of Freeport Public Schools.