Shelter Island is looking at a $10.45 million projected school budget or an increase in spending of $400,000 unless Board of Education members take an axe to some of Superintendent Michael Hynes’ proposals. Budget to budget, the current proposal calls for a 4 percent spending increase.
A large part of the increased spending lies with the cost of benefits that are slated to increase by 11.4 percent, Dr. Hynes said at Monday night’s budget workshop. Conversely, he’s looking at a salary increase that would go up 2.4 percent.
Special education costs are currently projected to drop 11.6 percent for the 2014-15 school term, according to academic administrator Jennifer Rylott. They were budgeted at $1.98 million for the current school year and are projected to be $1.06 million in the 2014-15 school year, Ms. Rylott said.
But she cautioned that the costs could change dramatically based on the student population needing services and the nature of services required.
Non-personnel expenses that include equipment, contractual agreements, travel and conferences, materials and supplies and BOCES costs would increase 43.1 percent under the proposal while the district would have to bite the bullet for $57,147 for charter school tuition, Dr. Hynes said.
Educational support services, including the library, guidance office, social worker, psychologist, health services and computer services represent 8 percent of the overall budget and would rise by $87,527 from $564,517 to $652, 044. That includes an extra half day for part-time social worker Jennifer Olsen. She had been appointed this year on a .6 basis, equal to working three days a week, but each day was shortened so she could spread her hours over five days. If the proposal stands, her hours would be equal to 3.5 days a week.
There’s also added spending to replenish materials in the nurse’s office and to extend nurse Mary Kanarvogel’s function to include her functioning as a nurse educator.
While Dr. Hynes had talked a few months ago about an extensive field trip policy he wanted to implement, he’s scaling back its implementation. He’s asking the Board to push ahead with the Frost Valley YMCA trip for sixth graders designed to enhance team building skills. But his budget would slow adding more than one field trip per year per class for the other grades.
There’s no cutback on co-curricular activities, but the superintendent would like to add a debate club to the list of activities. He said there has been a call for it and it fits well with the academic push to improve written and verbal skills.
The budget calls for spending $81,835 next year, up from $72,630 this year for co-curricular activities. That represents a 12.7 percent hike.
Transportation costs, including daily busing to and from school and for special education, occupational education, athletic programs, field trips and private schools would rise 2 percent.
Budget talks continue Monday night at 6:30 p.m. to be followed by an April 1 workshop to review the entire budget proposal.
The Board of Education will have time between until April 23 to discuss possible changes before adopting the budget proposal on April 23 that will be submitted to voters on May 20.