No one questions $11.7 million school budget

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island School
REPORTER FILE PHOTO Shelter Island School

No potential town voters turned up Monday night at the public hearing on the proposed $11.7 million budget for the 2018-19 Shelter Island School District budget. There had been no questions about the spending plan at previous budget work sessions.

If past history is any indication, that bodes well for passage of the budget in voting scheduled for May 15. The budget plan does not go beyond the state-mandated tax cap. If passed, taxpayers would have to ante up $10.34 million of the total to cover spending with the balance coming from $600,693 in state aid and $770,596 in the district’s unallocated reserves.

Property assessed at $500,000 would see bills increase 1.02 percent, from $1,484 this year to $1,499 to support next year’s spending. The same percentage increase would apply for those whose property is assessed at $850,000, with bills increasing from $2,523 to $2,549. For those whose property is assessed at $1 million, bills will rise from $2,968 to $2,998.

Spending is broken up into three areas — administration, program and capital expenditures — with similar percentages being applied to each area in the 2018-19 budget as in the current year’s budget.

Residents can also vote on school board elections. There are two open seats on the board with incumbent Kathleen Lynch seeking a second three-year term and one known write-in candidate, Margaret Colligan, launching a campaign for the second seat that became open when Susan Binder opted not to seek re-election.

Administrators took a few minutes at the meeting to highlight accomplishments of the district in academics, athletics and the arts so voters be tuning in on TV to watch proceedings that were taped could appreciate what has been happening at the school.

Academic Administrator Jennifer Rylott spoke about internships that give students experience in various jobs; the science research programs; advanced placement courses that have been offered; and courses taken through the school that give college credits through Suffolk County Community College and St. John’s University. She noted that unlike most districts, Shelter Island has been able to offer students preparatory courses during the school day for the ACT and SAT examinations at no extra cost.

Superintendent Christine Finn described the district as “small but mighty, and talked about achievements in music; relationships with Sylvester Manor and the Shelter Island Historical Society; and the newly launched TV Media Production Class. She showed a brief film created by students that isn’t quite complete, but will be posted on the school’s website soon. It demonstrates the strides being made throughout the district in all various activities and academic achievements.

The town and school district have signed an inter-municipal cooperation agreement for the advanced wastewater treatment center that will serve the school and the youth center at the American Legion Post.

In other business, the Board of Education:
• Appointed Jennifer Gulluscio as summer school coordinator for three quarters of the job and Deborah Brewer for one quarter. Ms. Gulluscio will be paid $1,053 while Ms. Brewer will receive $351.
• Approved a kayak tips for sixth graders on June 8.
• Tentatively set the date for the Board of Education’s reorganization meeting for Monday, July 9 at 6 p.m.
Voting on the budget and Board of Education members is in the school gymnasium between noon and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 15.