Port’s $160.5 million proposed budget up for vote on Tuesday

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A file photo of the Port Washington Board of Education. (Photo by Luke Torrance)

Port Washington’s $160.5 million proposed school budget is up for vote on Tuesday, May 21. 

The 2019-20 proposed budget is an increase of 2.96 percent, or $4.6 million, from the current budget. If approved, the tax levy will increase by 2.88 percent.

About 6 percent of the budget is covered by state aid, an area where the school district saw an increase of $1 million from the prior year.

The budget includes the addition of an assistant superintendent for general curriculum, who will be offered a salary package of $245,518.

For instructional staff, the budget includes the addition of a full-time special education teacher and full-time social studies teacher at Schreiber High School, a full-time English as a New Language teacher at Weber Middle School, a districtwide bilingual kindergarten teacher, a part-time ENL teacher at Salem Elementary School, a part-time ESTEAM teacher at Guggenheim Elementary School and a part-time world language teacher at Weber.

The cost of the additional bilingual kindergarten teacher will be offset by one less class section at Guggenheim.

In total, the cost of additional staffing amounts to $818,000. When the budget was first announced, additional staffing costs were $1.59 million.

Some $878,000 of the budget will be used to conduct repairs in Port’s school buildings. The last section of Guggenheim’s roof will be replaced at a cost of about $575,000, a new water main at South Salem Elementary is expected to cost $178,000 and partially replacing the wooden bleachers at Schreiber High School is projected to cost $125,000.

Roof repairs at Sousa and South Salem Elementary schools were deferred from the proposed budget. Mary Callahan, assistant superintendent of business, said the district is considering a bond to pay for the roofing.

About 76 percent, or $123.2 million, of the budget is dedicated to programming. About 14.7 percent will be allocated toward capital spending and another 8 percent will be directed toward the administrative component of the budget.

With 5,508 students in the district as of April 10, the proposed budget equates to the district spending $29,149 per student.

For the 2017-18 school year, the district had the lowest cost per pupil in the area at $27,219 per student. Locust Valley was recorded as the highest, at $40,435 per student.

The budget vote will be held at Weber Middle School, where residents can also choose two school board trustees from among four candidates.

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