Voters on Tuesday approved the Roslyn School District’s $105,097,968 million budget for the 2016-17 school year and re-elected two trustees to four-year terms.
The budget, which carries a 1.96 percent spending increase and a 0.31 percent tax levy increase, was passed with a 539 to 148 votes.
Running unopposed, incumbent trustees Steven Litvack and Bruce Valauri were re-elected to three-year terms, receiving 542 and 514 votes respectively.
“I’m very happy and I’m looking forward to the next three years on the Board of Trustees,” Litvack said Wednesday morning. “I’m looking forward to working with all the trustees to continue the capital projects we started in the school district.”
Litvack and Valauri have said they’re most proud of the capital project that the district began last month at Roslyn High School.
“What we are most proud of is the bond that we got passed and capital improvements and that’s going to be the undertaken over the next few years in the district. And I’m proud of how financially stable we are,” Litvack said last month.
Litvack, who has served on the board for seven and half years, echoed Valauri’s sentiments. He said he ran for trustee in 2009 because he was approached by community members and friends.
“A number of people in the community approached me and said Steve, we want you to run because of your background and experience,” Litvack said.
Litvack, a 14 year Roslyn resident is the president of Jersey College, a nursing school with five locations in New Jersey and Florida.
He graduated University of Pennsylvania with a degree in finance and entrepreneurial management in 1989 then received a law degree from Harvard University in 1993. Litvack resides in Roslyn with his wife and three children — a junior at the high school, an eighth grader and a sixth grader.
“I’m very pleased to have the support of the community to be re-elected to another three years on the board of trustees,” Valauri said.
Valauri, a prosthodontist whose dental practice in Manhattan treats cancer patients with head and neck problems, said he find his work on the board particularly fulfilling.
He has touted his work on the education board working to examine the exteriors of the buildings in the district to determine what was needed prior to developing the proposed $41 million bond later approved by voters.
“I was one of the first people involved in the assessment of the building and capital improvement of the school district before the bond was ever issued,” Valauri said. “That’s why I’m happy to continue to continue with the project and see this project till the end.”
The approved budget calls for a 1.8 percent in regular education, a 6.2 percent in special education and 6.1 percent increase in health insurance spending.
“The reason why our health insurance cost is only up 6.1 percent is because of the negotiated increased contributions being made from our teachers, custodians and administrators,” Assistant Superintendent for Business, Joseph Dragone said in February. “They’re contributing more towards the cost of health insurance therefore they’re reducing the taxpayer’s cost to provide those benefits.”
Superintendent of Schools Gerard Dempsey said some of the expenses in special education spending will be offset by tuition revenue received from other school districts.
“The reason why our health insurance cost is only up 6.1 percent is because of the negotiated increased contributions being made from our teachers, custodians and administrators,” said Joseph Dragone, assistant superintendent for business. “They’re contributing more towards the cost of health insurance therefore they’re reducing the taxpayer’s cost to provide those benefits.”
Dempsey said some of the expenses in special education spending will be offset by tuition revenue received from other school districts.
Three areas of the budget call for decreases. Employee retirement system will be down 15.4 percent, teacher retirement by 7.9 percent and central data processing by 10.5 percent.
Roslyn will also be able to retire over $800,000 of previous debt, a 31.1 percent decrease from last year’s budget, school officials said.
The new budget will also see new staff, additional programs, technology and supplies. Assistant Superintendent Michael Goldspiel said the school wants to build on some of the STEM programs and state-of-the-art coding course it offered last year.
“We also want to purchase of new security cameras, repair and replace of sidewalks,” Goldspiel said.
The Roslyn School District began the first phase of the capital projects in April that will overhaul several infrastructure around the school district.
A new bus maintenance facility, and field work at East Hills School, with extensive interior renovations at East Hills School and additional projects at the Roslyn Middle School slated to be undertaken over the coming summer months.
Dragone said work will begin within weeks on a new bus maintenance facility, which will be adjacent to the existing building used by the district’s buildings and grounds department on Parp Drive, in the rear of Harbor Hill School.
Renovation of the East Hills fields, which will address pressing needs for both playing fields and additional parking, will also begin in the spring.
Large-scale renovations to the school’s library, classrooms and hallways, encompassing extensive electrical and ventilation system improvements, among other changes, will be undertaken during the summer vacation.
All but the library will be ready for occupancy for the opening of school in September; the library is slated for completion later in the fall.