The Port Washington school district outlined a proposed $174.8 million budget for the 2022-23 school year during Tuesday night’s public meeting.
The $174,799,928 budget is a 4.5 percent increase from this year’s adopted $167,268,942 budget. The budget calls for a 2.5 percent increase in the tax levy, which falls below the state-mandated cap. The 2022-23 tax levy is proposed to be slightly more than $150.5 million.
Some of the main expenditures that caused the budget to increase, outside of general inflation, were the need for new furniture in cafeterias and classrooms, a stage curtain for the middle school auditorium, upgrades to the district’s security server, a new facilities truck with a plow, and a handful of new teaching positions not funded by the American Rescue Plan as five were in 2021-22.
The athletics requests include a JV football assistant coach position, the replacement of outdated or worn football, lacrosse, soccer and gymnastics equipment as well as the purchase of additional pieces to account for increases in enrollment and additional middle school boys and girls winter track coaching positions.
The athletics department currently includes 49 varsity and junior varsity teams at the high school and 32 teams at the middle school, with over 23% participation at the high school level and over 16% at the middle school level.
According to Kathleen O’Hara, assistant superintendent of business, supply costs for the creative arts have increased significantly due to the increasing use of technology and field trips resuming after the lifting of COVID restrictions. There will also be a significant increase in utilities for next year (a 52% increase in electricity and 27% increase in gas). There is also a five-year roof replacement schedule being put in place.
Transportation makes up 5 percent of the budget. The Port Washington district is the seventh-largest geographically in Nassau County with 21 square miles to cover.
O’Hara previously presented a proposal to create a capital reserve with a maximum amount of $15 million, which would be funded over 10 years.
The reserve, she said, would be made up of leftover funds from the prior year and would be at no additional cost to the taxpayers.
O’Hara said the district plans on increasing its costs for the English Language Learners program by more than $345,000 in the coming school year, citing a need to allow the program to grow more as the main reason. Some of the ways the program can grow, O’Hara said, would be having an ELL family night and having more parent orientations.
The district’s proposed BOCES budget also increased, with the tentative additions of interpretation services, a curriculum development survey, computer-assisted instruction services and special education services, among others. The proposed BOCES budget is just above $6.6 million, an increase from the current year’s $5.5 million.
The Nassau BOCES is the largest organization of its kind in the state and serves 56 school districts across the county. Officials said Port Washington receives more than 52 percent back on BOCES aidable services from the state based on the prior year’s services.
Members of the board touted the work of O’Hara and the budget team to find ways to keep an increased budget below the tax levy cap for another year.