New Suffolk school board president Tony Dill presented his preliminary 2014-15 spending plan Tuesday night, which carries an estimated 1.7 percent, or $13,000, increase to the tax levy.
During the school board’s regular meeting, Mr. Dill said the $1.2 million budget comes under the state-mandated allowable tax levy rate of 1.86 percent — which represents the increased amount the school can collect from property taxes with a simple majority vote.
Although a quarter of the spending plan has gone toward secondary school tuition costs in recent years, Mr. Dill said the pre-K through sixth-grade district is anticipating significant savings next year due to a decline in secondary student enrollment, including four students graduating and one student moving out of the district.
New Suffolk currently sends the majority of its secondary students to Southold School District.
“It’s the first time in a very long time we’ve seen a significant drop in high school students,” he said. “This is a window to do the things we’ve been wanting to do.”
Mr. Dill outlined his proposal on how the district should take advantage of the savings from secondary tuition expenses.
One idea is extending the school day by 45 minutes.
The district currently dismisses its students at 2:30 p.m. and is considering extending the school day to 3:15 p.m., he said.
Mr. Dill said extending the school day will provide students remedial help, a two-day per week foreign language class, and a new “applied learning program,” which he said will offer students “real world” learning opportunities.
The proposed budget also includes hiring a full-time teaching assistant for the primary grades and a part-time lunch monitor to give teachers additional prep-time during lunch hours, Mr. Dill said.
Investments in technology are also included in next year’s spending plan, including renting iPads for each student.
In other district news, the school board unanimously approved granting tenure to English and social studies teacher Nicole Pollina.
“She has made a great improvement to the staff,” Mr. Dill said. “She has allowed us to change a great deal, and improved our ability to do special things for the kids.”
The school board also discussed a new enhancement to its security system. A camera and monitor was installed last Wednesday that allows administrators to see who’s entering and exiting the building during school hours.