The unanimously voted to adopt their 2012-2013 budget, a difficult budget crafted in the midst of cuts to financial aid and numerous unfunded mandates handed down by New York State.
At $183 million, the 2012-2013 budget, approved at Thursday night's meeting, represents a 2.23 percent increase over the previous year. While no school programs were cut, a total of 29 teaching positions were eliminated, although the District plans to keep the door open to re-hiring some staff should their financial situation improve.
However, school officials say future budgets will be even more difficult to fashion, as Superintendent Charles Sulc said the state tax cap would make maintaining Massapequa’s quality of education harder than ever before.
“The tax cap legislation that we have in place for the first time is something that is not going to go away any time soon,” he said. “It’s like living on a contingent budget, perhaps only worse, year in and year out.”
On Thursday, May 3, the Board will hold a public hearing and vote on the budget adopted this evening.
The ongoing restructuring of the Administration at l took yet another twist at the meeting as it was announced that one of the school's newly-created Executive Assistant positions was being eliminated. Deputy Superintendent Alan Adcock said that this was yet another cost-cutting measure on behalf of the school District.
"The elimination of that additional position will save the budget $148,208...that's including benefits," he said.
School Board President Maryanne Fisher had asked district officials to take another look at the Berner reorganization at Saturday's Board meeting. The change was reflected in the budget adopted Thursday.
A major presentation was also given by Dr. Thomas Fasano on the upcoming implementation of the Dignity Act, an extensive, educational anti-bullying program signed into law in 2010 that is slated to take effect on July 1, 2012.
The Dignity Act is a legislative act whose intent is to establish a school environment free of discrimination and abuse based on race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or gender.
Massapequa personnel have been undergoing training and the district has been reviewing special curriculum, programs, and activities as a part of their compliance with the the Dignity Act, whose scope not only encompasses bullying in schools, but online abuse as well.
“The goal of the law is a more nurturing environment in our schools,” Fasano said. “This is about awareness, sensitivity, action, acceptance of consequences, and most of all, learning.”
Several students also spoke and read poetry during the presentation, all keeping in the theme of the Dignity Act- tolerance and acceptance.
Charles Sulc highlighted the recent High School production of Hello Dolly in his Superintendent’s Report, taking obvious pride in yet another successful annual musical by the Drama Department.
“They’re basically playing to packed houses, and when you look at the quality of the productions, it’s easy to see why,” he said. “This is a tremendous tribute to the art department, the music department, all the students that participate, and the leadership that comes from faculty and advisors. We’re very, very proud.”
The next meeting of the Massapequa Board of Education is scheduled for Thursday, May 3, at 8 p.m. At this time the Board will hold a public budget hearing on the budget.
The public will vote on the spending plan on Tuesday, May 15.