The Great Neck Board of Education unanimously adopted a $252 million budget for the 2021-22 school year on Tuesday, an increase of around $11 million.
The budget, adopted by the board virtually via Zoom, is $252,194,682, an increase of 4.47 percent from last year’s $241,395,571. The projected tax levy increase is $4,214,577, or 1.98 percent. Originally, the board proposed a 2.25 percent increase in the tax levy.
John Powell, assistant superintendent of business and finance, said the proposed budget once again remained within the state-mandated tax cap.
District residents will vote on the proposed budget on May 11.
According to the presentation made by Powell, $14.8 million in administrative costs makes up 5.9 percent of the budget, $34.6 million in capital projects makes up 13.7 percent of the budget, and $202.7 million for programming accounts for the rest of the budget.
The school district is expecting to see a $454,000 increase in state aid from last year’s $10.2 million. The district received more than $86,000 from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund and more than $500,000 from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
“There is an inverse relationship in the amount a district receives in state aid to their wealth measures of income and property wealth. The wealthier a district is the less state aid it receives,” Powell said.
The district projects that it will have another increase in student enrollment from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. According to the presentation, the district anticipates 330 students will be enrolled in pre-kindergarten programs, an increase of nearly 100.
Total payroll is also projected to increase by more than $4 million to roughly $132.7 million, according to the presentation.
School Superintendent Teresa Prendergast said school officials have been discussing ways for the district to safely hold a graduation ceremony under new guidance from state officials.
“We are very excited about the process that we’re in right now in terms of developing and finalizing plans to celebrate an outdoor commencement ceremony for our graduating seniors,” Prendergast said.
Districts have been permitted to reduce physical distancing requirements from six feet to three feet in a classroom setting, but state Health Department officials have said that six feet is still required for high school and middle school students in counties with high risk of virus transmissions.
“Because we are a high risk of transmission county, middle schools and high schools must maintain physical, social distancing of at least six feet between students in classrooms,” Prendergast said.