Registered voters in the Connetquot Central School District will head to the polls this month to approve or reject the $203.5 million proposed budget for the 2021-2022 academic year.
This year’s adopted budget represents a 2 percent increase compared to the 2020-2021 budget, according to an April budget presentation, and carries a tax levy increase of 1.99 percent — below the district’s allowable tax-levy limit.
If approved, the budget will cost $15.60 more per month than the current year’s budget, based on a home assessed at $50,000.
In a letter to residents signed April 2021, superintendent of schools Lynda Adams said throughout this unprecedented year, the district has continued to “serve our students and our community by keeping as many of our programs intact as possible while providing a healthy and safe haven for our students to continue to grow and thrive.”
While the board of education and administration works to propose a budget that preserves programs and student offerings, Adams said, this year that challenge was exacerbated by the ever-changing executive orders which provided each school district with unfunded mandates.
“This year’s budget provides the flexibility in programs necessary to be fluid in the ever-changing COVID landscape, without sacrificing our strong academic and co-curricular programs,” Adams wrote.
The district divided budget expenses into four main categories, with the following percentages representing total appropriation: general support, 10.44 percent; instruction, 53.06 percent; pupil transportation, 5.08 percent; and undistributed expenses, 31.42 percent.
The general support category contains appropriations for the services to the district. This includes operation and maintenance of plant, district security, printing and mailing and data processing.
The undistributed section of the budget contains appropriations for debt service (principal and interest on borrowings), statutory pension premiums, health benefits and insurances. The pupil transportation category reflects a decrease of 2.96 percent compared to last year’s budget.
The largest category, instruction, contains appropriations for all salaries and instructional support programs. All existing programs will be maintained, while services and instructional opportunities will be expanded.
This category includes enhancing STEM initiatives in multiple ways, including the restoration of the Computer Science and Engineering Academy at the high school, “innovation labs” at each elementary school and implementing an online coding platform in libraries districtwide.
Instruction expenditures also will increase classroom technology, implement Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project as part of the effort to improve literacy programs, continue mental health initiatives like expansion of the RULER program, and maintain smaller class sizes.
The budget will also repair the high school track, as per a recommendation from NYSIR, and provide personal protective equipment for students and staff.
Most of the district’s revenue this year comes from New York State aid, at $55.5 million. This amount represents an increase of $264,878 from last year’s projected state aid amount.
The district will hosted a public hearing on the budget on May 5 prior to the public vote.
To review the budget online, visit: http://www.ccsdli.org/Assets/2122_Budget/042821_April_20_2021-_Budget_Adoption.pdf?t=637551994031270000.