Mineola ed board gives budget final look

The Mineola Board of Education met briefly last Thursday night for the final formal hearing on its proposed $86.14 million budget before district voters go to the polls on May 21.

“It’s really not much different than the budget meetings we’ve already had,” Mineola Superintendent of Schools Michael Nagler said.

The proposed $86.14 million increase represents a year-to-year increase of 2.56 percent over the current $83.99 million budget. The district’s projected tax levy is projected at $77.9 million, a 2.18 percent increase over the current $76.24 million levy.

Nagler said the allowable levy increase is at the upper limit of what the district implemented under the complex state-mandated tax cap formula.

“The reason for the difference is the settlement for the teacher’s contract,” Nagler said.

Nagler said the recently settled teachers contract enabled the district to defer teachers “step” salary payments for up to six months, so $250,000 from those deferred payments were applied to reduce the levy. The district is also receiving more in state aid this year than the last fiscal year. Nagler said the $5.4 million in state education aid the district will receive is not so much an increase, but an effort to redress shortfalls in aid during previous years.

The district is adding one more Pre-K class, a five-year bus replacement program, more iPads for students, and $100,000 security measures such as so-called “man-traps” at entrances to district schools. The security upgrades are being paid by state grants.

“I’ve run out of questions,” board Trustee Artie Barnett said after Nagler formally presented the formal budget after weeks of discussing it.

In other developments:

• The board was also treated to a sneak peak of the eighth and ninth grade theatrical production of “Grease” opening next week. Freshman Brittany Hernandez who snagged the role of Sandy after moving from North Carolina performed ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You.’ It is the first play being held since the eighth grade moved to the high school.

“It’s a typecast of new girl to school and Sandy,” Nagler said about Hernandez.

• Incumbent Trustee Irene Parrino, who was not present at Thursday’s meeting, discussed policies with challenger Patricia Navarra.

• The next Board of Education meeting is on May 17 at the Willis Avenue School.

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Laura Cerrone

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