Line items for the 2012-2013 budget took center stage at last Thursday’s meeting of the Sayville Bpard of Education.
But it was a potential revenue source—tuition from non-residents—that stole the spotlight.
With a May 15 budget vote looming, Assistant Superintendent for Business John J. Belmonte walked attendees through major allocation lines not related to staff contracts (those expenses were addressed at the last board meeting). Belmonte’s presentation included a review of non-labor contractual expenses, BOCES-related services, supplies, transportation and equipment.
Combined with personnel salaries and benefits, the Board has set this year’s budget at $85.7 million. This represents a 4.76 percent over the current budget. The board is scheduled to vote on a proposed budget on April 19.
Superintendent Walter Schartner suggested a possible funding stream could be obtained by permitting non-residents to enroll children in the district. At a rate of $1,000 per month at the elementary school level, and as much as $15,000 annually for secondary school students, officials recognize that a considerable amount of revenue can be generated.
“We need to look at options that can ensure that we will never lose opportunities that really make a difference in a student’s life,” Schartner said, adding that in addition to the enrollment fee, students would have to abide by the same code of conduct as all students, or face possible expulsion.
Class size would be a prime consideration, and non-resident students could be turned away in subsequent years if enrollment patterns change. That concerned board member Maureen Dolan, who cautioned that while she supported new ways to increase revenue, she was troubled that a new student could be displaced after assimilating into the district if, in fact, enrollment does increase.
Forecasts, however, do not show an increase in enrollment for the foreseeable future, Schartner said.
According to the superintendent, a decision would have to be made in May, so that enrollment numbers could be established by July 1 and then a capacity could be determined.
Other discussions included:
No-cost Transportation Referendum
Residents will be asked to vote on a new transportation referendum that, school officials say, will be at no cost to taxpayers. According to Belmonte, the district is proposing that beginning in September, students in grade K – 5 who live one-half mile or more from school will be eligible for transportation. Currently, students in grades 3 – 5 must live one mile or more in order to qualify for a bus. Students in grades 6 – 12 will still need to live 1.5 miles away.
“We have had a history of transportation referendums being voted down,” Belmonte said. “But this is a no-cost referendum.”
Old Library Gets a New Owner
The district announced the sale of land on Collins Avenue which once housed the Sayville Library. The property, which has been on the market for approximately two years, was sold to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bellport for $1.4 million, the original asking price, officials said. Funds will return to the district's debt service reserve.
Downtown Appreciation Day
Plans are developing for a student-organized appreciation day to celebrate the Main Street business district. Tentatively set for Saturday, April 28, activities could include student-lead art shows, musical performances, face paintings, sports clinics, robotics demonstrations and more.