Port Washington ed board entertains transfer to capital options for tennis court updates

Port Washington ed board entertains transfer to capital options for tennis court updates
Paul D. Schreiber High School. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The Port Washington Board of Education considered the use of capital funds for school repairs and lighting at the district’s tennis courts on Tuesday, but members questioned the impact on the tax levy.

“The hope is to spend money in a forward planning way, like we’ve been trying to do with many things, in a way that makes it the most cost-effective and serves the students the best at the same time,” Trustee Rachel Gilliar said.

Assistant Superintendent of Business Kathleen Manuel said the transfer of money to the capital budget could increase the allowed rise in the tax levy, depending on how much is transferred.

The transfer to the capital account would be dedicated to reconstructing and lighting the district’s tennis courts, as well as repairing stairs, a retaining wall and drainage.

Manuel provided two hypothetical scenarios in which the district transferred to capital, one transferring $2 million and the other $4 million.

The $2 million transfer would increase the allowable tax levy by 2.53%, with a 1,669.66 tax rate. The $4 million transfer would increase the allowable tax levy by 3.83%, with a 1,690.74 tax rate.

The district has a five-year capital plan beginning in the 2023-2024 school year.

So far this year, $1.9 million has been spent on roof and masonry work at Daly, Weber and Manorhaven elementary schools, as well as $167,580 in recoating the high school track. Millions of more dollars are planned to be spent on capital projects in the remaining four years of the plan.

The district created a capital reserve fund to finance various projects after its approval by voters on May 17, 2022. As of June 30, the reserve has a balance of $4,072,566.

Manuel said an answer on the district’s transfer to capital needs to be delivered by the board by the time it adopts its budget, approximately in April, but could be done sooner.

Everyone on the board was in support of advancing the project further and the board will continue to discuss the transfer of money to the capital fund. No action was taken Tuesday night.

The board of education did approve an expansion of its senior tax exemption in response to changes in state and county laws.

Nassau County increased the maximum allowable household income from $37,399 to $58,399 for seniors to qualify for a tax exemption in September 2022.

Manuel said the district did not adopt the tax exemption change at the time of the county’s law because it could not estimate the impact of the exemption.

But with updated reports from the county, Manuel said about six additional exemptions were added. She recommended the school district adopt the expanded tax exemption as it would only cost the district about $8.21 for each senior.

The board also held a first reading of its timeout and physical restraint policy, which many board members said they were previously unhappy about.

Trustee Deborah Brooks said the state law on timeout and physical restrain was revised and “took out all of the unhappiness.” The board then revised its policy on the issue to follow the updated state law.

The district policy states that “as required by state regulations, the District will utilize positive, proactive, evidence-and researched-based strategies through a multi-tiered system of supports,” to eliminate the need to use timeouts and physical restraint.

Strategies to limit disturbing behaviors will include intervention and prevention procedures and utilize de-escalation techniques, the policy states.

Timeout and physical restraint would only be used when other less restrictive and de-escalation techniques do not prevent danger or harm to the student or others, there is no known medical contraindication available for the student and if the school staff member intervening has been trained in addressing the situation.

Brooks said the district’s policy language was changed to make it clear it was following state law. She said the board also adjusted the tone of the language to fit the mission of the district.

No action was taken on the policy Tuesday night.

The board did approve its policy for student voter pre-registration and registration, which offers voter pre-registration to students at least 16 years old and will not be 18 by the time of an election, as well as registration to students who are 18 years old and eligible to vote.

In other news, Shields said the district has 5,325 students enrolled in the district, according to the last enrollment report conducted on Nov. 29. This is 66 more students than were enrolled at this time last year.

The Port Washington Board of Education will convene again at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 9.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here