Greenport draft budget calls for 3.4 percent spending increase

Greenport Board of Education members presented a first draft of the district’s 2011-12 proposed budget Wednesday night that would increase spending 3.4 percent, from $13.83 million this year to $14.3 million.

That number will be cut by the time voters are asked to approve a budget proposal on May 17, Superintendent Michael Comanda said.

The draft prepared by Mr. Comanda calls for freezing the salaries of the principals of the high school and elementary school. Mr. Comanda froze his salary in the current year.

Thanks to two retirements, there won’t be heads on the chopping block this year, but the board is considering cutbacks in hours for speech therapy and special education, according to Mr. Comanda.

The district this year already has cut one administrative position through retirement of special education director Tom Rabbitt; two elementary school positions; three high school teachers — one in math, one in social studies and one who taught English and math; and reduced the hours of a school psychologist and a custodian.

The district expects to add a new elementary school math program; an advanced placement environmental science course; consumer economics for high school seniors; a cooking class called “Everything Italian”; an introduction to small engines; a course in fashion illustration; a course in construction systems; and computer technology for fourth- through sixth-graders. Mr. Comanda said he is exploring a varsity track and field program in conjunction with Mattituck.

District taxpayers are likely to see a proposition on the ballot May 17 asking to fund a building repair reserve fund at the rate of $50,000 per year. The goal is to allow the district to address maintenance problems as they arise and not have to float construction bonds to fund major repairs this year, Mr. Comanda said.

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