Roslyn voters re-elect Ben-Levy, Saffron; pass budget

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Voters in Roslyn re-elected school board President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy and Vice President Clifford Saffron and passed the 2017-18 school budget on Tuesday.

Ben-Levy and Saffron, who both ran unopposed, received 564 and 526 votes, respectively.

The $107 million budget, which calls for a 0.43 percent property tax increase to help fund an increase in spending of 1.98 percent over last year, passed 577-135.

Efforts to reach Ben-Levy ad Saffron were unavailing.

Both have served on the board for 12 years and both candidates initially sought their seats after a multimillion-dollar financial scandal rocked the Roslyn school district in 2004.

“On one of my early campaigns I met Meryl,” Saffron said last week, noting that Ben-Levy joined the board only months after he did.

“Almost since day one we shared a singular view of what had transpired and what needed to be done to get Roslyn back on track,” he said.

“We have unfinished work and I made a promise to the community and a pledge to myself that I would do all I could as a volunteer to put Roslyn in a healthy educational and physical posture,” Ben-Levy said last week. “I made that promise many years ago and I want to see it through.”

Ben-Levy said the district has made strides in technology, infrastructure and curriculum offerings, including advanced placement courses in the high school as well as  science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM) offerings throughout the district.

Other achievements listed by Saffron include the adding of student clubs, the effort to give students iPads and the equipping of teachers with technology to support instruction.

Looking ahead, Saffron said, “We’ll continue to challenge the administration to come up with ways to challenge our students to make sure our curriculum fits where we are as a world right now, with a focus on initiatives around technology, data and analytics.”

“Our community demands the highest education for its children and it supports us to achieve that,” he added.

The budget’s 0.43 percent property tax increase is well below the 1.21 percent increase in revenue allowed under the state’s tax cap law.

The budget allows for new early development classes, a fifth-grade robotics class, a class that incorporates virtual reality headsets, and a physical education class that incorporates wristbands to monitor students’ heart rates.

It would also add computer coding courses for grades six through 12, classes incorporating virtual reality, app creation classes, engineering classes and a high school robotics club, among other curriculum improvements.

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