Low turnout, but Glen Cove passes school budget


Voters decided the future of over 3,000 students in the Glen Cove City School District when they passed a $108 million budget on Tuesday, with 733 votes in favor and 423 in opposition. The spending plan is roughly $6 million larger than the current budget, and includes a tax levy increase of 2.52 percent — the 12th consecutive spending plan in which the increase has been at or under the state tax cap.

The results were announced 45 minutes after the polls closed.  

“We’re very happy to see the budget supported with a positive vote, and we will never take that for granted,” district Superintendent Maria Rianna said. “We’re looking forward to a very strong school year, and we want the community to understand we’re not increasing our budget in irresponsible ways.” 

In the election for school board trustees, board President Maria Elena Venuto and Vice President Angela Raimo both ran unopposed, and were re-elected, Raimo with 720 votes and Venuto with 749. 

School officials expressed disappointment with the low voter turnout, but said they weren’t surprised. They speculated that the low numbers were due in part to the high turnout for a bond vote last year. The $30.5 million bond will fund projects for the high school including repairs to science rooms, cafeteria and kitchen, and the school’s corridors. Exterior doors will be replaced, and restrooms will be reconstructed to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Part of what happens is when you have an election and there’s no challengers for the board of education, less people come out,” Venuto said. “They’re not rooting for a particular person; they’re not con

“There might be people in the community who are mad that the bond passed” last year, Venuto added, “but I think the majority of people understand what it takes to run a school district. We employ more people than any other entity in Glen Cove, and I think, to me, the school district is like an economic engine.”

The budget’s administrative costs total roughly $8 million, an increase of $286,558 over this year. An increase of $20,332 in the personnel office is the result of staffing needs and contractual obligations. 

With the passage of the budget, residents can now expect to see changes and additions in dual-enrollment courses, a new dean of students at the high school, and the development and expansion of high school courses in scientific research, dance, theater, and fitness. 

The district’s focus on safety will help parents send their children to school without worry. At the middle school, the public address system, on which students hear daily announcements, as well as the fire systems and clocks, will be repaired with $1 million that has been earmarked in the budget. This comes on the heels of the middle school’s recent expansion to a nine-period school day, and the spending plan will allow the district to hire more teachers, so students at the middle school can take more arts and language programs. 

The budget also expands the district’s special education program. Roughly $21 million will now be allocated, and parents will see additional mental health and academic support for their children. An estimated $859,000 has been budgeted for students needing psychological services. 

One category of spending that has risen dramatically is health insurance, the cost of which will increase by roughly $1 million next year. The district is exploring other health insurance plans to supplement the New York State Health Insurance Program.