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Budget Talk Begins as RVC Board of Ed Discusses Reduction Options

Initial numbers discussed as board looks to lower budget before May 21 vote.

With the finalization of the upcoming school improvement bond vote in its rear view mirror, the Rockville Centre Board of Education met Tuesday night with the annual May budget vote in mind.

The tax levy limit for the 2013-14 school year is 3.57 percent or approximately a $3 million increase on the budget. Assistant Superintendent Robert Bartels said he expects revenues to increase by $500,000, which means that the budget increase must be limited to approximately $3.5 million to remain within the tax cap.

Currently, the budget increase sits at nearly $4.9 million, meaning that the board needs to trim more than $1.3 million.

A majority of the increases in the budget were related to salaries, which, according to district documents, are up to nearly $57.4 million -- a 2.72 percent increase over 2012-13.

The increase in salaries was also accompanied by an increase in benefits.

"Benefits, which is really the largest increase we've had, is close to a 13 percent increase [over the previous year]," Bartels said. "The reason for that is that the retirement system contributions continue to increase, as well as health insurance, worker's compensation, social security -- all of the other benefits continue to drive up the costs of the budget."

The board dicussed two groups of the budget Tuesday night: general support and instruction.

The budget for general support decreased $118,225 from the previous year. The budget for instruction, however, increased $1.8 million, a change of 3.11 percent.

According to district documents, the increases in instruction include the aforementioned contractual salaries, a potential International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program, IB English 12, Math 6-8 textbooks, Achieve 3000, technology staffing and project costs, foster tuitions and a boys swim team.

A lengthy discussion was held about the IB Middle Years Program involving the board, Superintendent William Johnson, high school principal Carol Burris and middle school principal Shelagh McGinn.

The suggested IB Middle Years Program is a three-year program (grades 6-8) that teaches students to learn through different lenses, according to McGinn. Teachers would have be trained differently in order to run the program.

An IB coordinator would eventually be needed for the IB Middle Years Program.

"We've wanted to do this for a very long time and we keep pushing and trying," McGinn said. "... The bottom line is that this position is absolutely a ton of work for whoever's going to do it. Quite honestly, the thought of putting someone in is something that we know we have to do, we want to do. I would rather do it sooner than later."

If a part-time employee was brought on to run the program, the salary for the position would be $40,000, according to Bartels. However, a stipend was also being considered for the position instead of the part-time salary. Neither the salary nor the stipend were included in the 2013-14 budget.

"I think it's incumbent upon all of us to think as creatively as possible to avoid adding additional staff in these days," board vice president Mark Masin said.

The next Rockville Centre Board of Education meeting is scheduled for March 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Margaret March 04, 2013 at 09:21 PM
@KJHorace-you are so right, especially the act of "silence", too long Administration has been doing what they want regardless of how it will impact the children and community. Using the "children" as bait for whatever they want, borders on abuse. We need to take back our town, eliminate special interest groups within the Village, School District and our PTA, who start out with good intentions and then gets sucked in by thinking that they are in, filling that void of being needed . The money spent is out of control and it's not going to benefit everyone. This Bond needs to be voted down, that will be the first step in recovering our community.
rvcmother March 05, 2013 at 04:33 PM
@kjhorace. I agree IB has become somewhat of an educational pyramid scheme with the reward being an impressive national ranking at the expense of true educational value for our children. They need to keep adding students in the seats to keep the ranking up irregardless of the students performance or ultimate readiness for college.
rvcmother March 05, 2013 at 09:29 PM
By the way, Covert's PTA meeting is at the high school tonight and I heard Watson and Riverside will be there too. Burris is probably throwing gargage around the rooms to make the school look even more run down. Then she'll give everybody the tour and tell them all how wonderful IB is and how we need you to vote because the nasty cheap people in this district don't care about kids. Scene this act before. It will be like watching a rerun on TV.
shewithnoname March 08, 2013 at 03:43 AM
So glad to see that people in RVC are waking up to the scam that is IB. As to those "national rankings", they are vapid, PR scams as well. Truth to power - IB MORATORIUM NOW!
shewithnoname March 08, 2013 at 03:48 AM
To RVC parents and taxpayers - If you are interested in establishing an IB active protest page on my website for your school district (no charge, my pleasure), please contact me at info@truthaboutib.com

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