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East Rockaway school officials propose $41.7 million budget


East Rockaway School District officials have proposed a $41.7 million budget for the 2021-22 school year.

The tax levy increase — the total amount that a district must collect in property taxes to meet expenses — is set at 1.60 percent, which is below the district’s allowable tax cap. The budget is $547,220 more than the 2020-21 spending plan. More than 74 percent of the budget will go toward programs, while over 13 percent is designated for capital projects and more than 11 percent is allocated to administrative expenses. East Rockaway will receive $7.8 million in state aid.

“Despite expenses related to Covid-19 driving our budget expenditures, the unexpected increase in [state] aid has allowed us to minimize the impact to residents, while maintaining staff and programs,” the East Rockaway Board of Education said in a statement. “The budget continues to support all our current curricular programs, K-12 clubs and all extracurricular activities, as well as programs that continue to support our students social-emotional needs, as well as expand offerings in certain areas.”

The budget includes a continued focus on security with upgraded cabling for high-definition cameras, replacement of old cameras with high-definition cameras, and the addition of 3M security film in common areas and on classroom doors, the installation of security fencing along the walkway to the front entrance of Rhame Avenue Elementary School, the continuation of the 1:1 tablet initiative for third- through 12th-graders, the addition of Mac computers for high school art programs and an additional oven for the high school.

Additionally, the budget will fund floor replacements in the art room at Centre Avenue Elementary School, continued support for the high school’s summer school program and the Northwell Health Community Mental Health Clinic, and will bring in six new English as a New Language teachers, four math teachers and a literacy coach, along with a large bus, a new driver’s education vehicle and a camera system along with subscriptions to enable streaming of all regular season home games for athletics.

In addition to the budget, the district is also seeking approval to spend $170,000 from its capital reserves to continue districtwide technology enhancements at no additional cost to taxpayers.

Voters will also have the opportunity to select a candidate in the Board of Education trustee race. President Dom Vulpis is running against Dan Caracciolo.