Roslyn school board adopts $113.19M budget, reviews playground designs

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Roslyn school board adopts $113.19M budget, reviews playground designs
Joseph Dragone, Roslyn School District’s assistant superintendent for business and administration, wore his monopoly tie to the board of education meeting Tuesday where he presented on the district’s revenue and tax rate projections. (Photo by Teri West)

The Roslyn Board of Education adopted a $113.19 million 2019-20 budget Tuesday after a discussion of revenue, the tax levy and incoming playgrounds at the Harbor Hill and Heights schools.

The budget, up for a public vote on May 21, has a $95 million tax levy, which is $1.84 million higher than this year’s.

Of the $95 million, 81.3 percent would come from homeowners, which is the same proportion as last year, though that is subject to change, said Joseph Dragone, the district’s assistant superintendent for business and administration.

The adopted budget is 2.94 percent higher than last year’s. Much of that increase – $500,000 – comes from this year’s fund balance. Last year the district only dedicated $110,000 of its fund balance to the new budget.

The district is projected to end the current fiscal year with a positive fund balance of $4.7 million, Dragone said.

“We’re proposing that $500,000 of it be used to reduce the tax levy,” he said. “The remaining $4.2 million we can put in reserves.”

The board is seeking to place $2 million in the district’s 2015 capital reserve and the remaining $2.2 million in the 2017 capital reserve.

The new playgrounds at Harbor Hill School and Heights School would be installed in the fall or spring if the 2015 capital reserve fund designation, proposition four, passes, said Superintendent Allison Brown.

“If the community supports this, we’re off to the races,” she said.

As currently planned, the Harbor Hill playground will be separated into two sections, one designed for younger children and the other intended for older ones. They will be separated by a row of 10 swings.

The design for the playground for older students includes a “ninja warrior”-esque section with climbing apparatuses, said architect Curt Coronato, who presented the plans to the board.

The section for younger students includes equipment designed for children in the kindergarten and first-grade age range, he said. Board President Meryl Waxman Ben-Levy said she was concerned that it would push students who are in the transitional third-grade year to the playground intended for older students.

“If you build something too babyish you’re going to accelerate the time that the first, second and third grade are going to want to get on the fourth-and fifth-graders’ playground, and then the two separate areas will not serve their purpose,” she said.

The Heights playground will be intended for all of the school’s young children and will also have 10 swings. The design Coronato presented includes platforms with rocket ship-themed caps as well as dueling monkey bars that children can race across.

This article has been updated. A previous version of the story said that the playgrounds would be installed in the fall or spring if the budget passes. The playgrounds are not included in the 2019-20 budget. They are part of a separate proposition.

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