When residents in the Bayport-Blue Point Union Free School District head to the polls to vote on the school budget next month, they’ll also be voting on a transportation-focused proposition.
The Bayport-Blue Point Board of Education unanimously approved the $76.9 million budget for the 20212022 academic year at the April 20 business meeting.
Assistant superintendent for finance and operations Richard Snyder, who outlined the adopted budget at the meeting, said this year’s tax levy associated with the budget is 2.94 percent – well under the 4.22 percent permissible under the tax cap formula.
However, the secondary referendum that will appear on voter’s ballots would increase the tax levy by .17 percent. It would still be within the tax levy cap, Snyder said.
The second proposition regards school transportation. If approved, approximately $91,595 will be added to the adopted budget, and the boundaries of transportation services offered to students in the district would be reduced.
According to a draft of Proposition 2, the district’s current mileage limitation for transporting students in grades K-5 from their homes to the public elementary schools will be reduced from 1.23 to 1.15 miles. Similarly, the proposition would reduce the district’s current mileage limitation for transporting students in
grades 6-12 to Bayport-Blue Point High School and middle school from 2 miles to 1.8 miles. It would be effective at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
The first proposition—the budget— can be approved without the secondary school transportation proposition, Snyder said. If both the budget and the secondary proposition are approved by the community, the budget will total $55.6 million and the tax levy will be 3.11 percent. That’s still below the tax levy cap.
In the past, Snyder said, there’s been a “major push” in the district to increase Legislative Foundation Aid from New York State. The district received a 2.2 percent increase in Foundation Aid compared to last year.
“The real, big push with the budget this year, in terms of state aid,” Snyder said, came from additional one-time grants in federal aid: the CRRSA and ESSER grant at $1.9 million, and the American Rescue Plan, at $788,747. The district is expected to receive guidance on usage of the CRRSA/ESSER grant in May.
This year’s budget will help restore the district’s elementary library and the Gifted and Talented program. It will also expand Academic Intervention Services and Emotional Support Services for grades K-12, the Elevate science program for grades 3-4 and the Capstone Research program for high schoolers.
The budget will also create new sports teams, including middle school boys and girls tennis, which includes transportation costs. It will also pay for additional sports transportation services for boys and girls golf, bowling, and swimming, which were supposed to be addressed this year but were delayed due to the pandemic, Snyder said.
Technology will also be upgraded under the new plan, including the replacement of 350 elementary Chromebooks, 50 new Smartboards in grades K-12, and wireless network upgrades, Snyder said.
As for the board of education trustee election, two three-year board seats are currently available, but it’s unclear if the race will be contested. The district has extended the deadline for trustee nomination submissions for the next 15 days after an individual who had originally applied had withdrawn their application.
Julia Pendola is running for the first seat, belonging to incumbent William Holl, and Elizabeth Cavuto is running for the secondary seat, belonging to incumbent Matthew Seery. The district is still accepting potential candidates and will update the public when information becomes available.
The district is expected to host another budget hearing on May 4. A public budget vote will be held on May 18.