Mattituck-Cutchogue BOE adopts $40.6 million budget

The Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education adopted a $40,676,947 budget for the 2018-19 school year at its meeting Thursday. 

The budget, which was approved with a 5-0 vote, as board member Barbara Talbot was absent, is a $88,000 decrease compared to the current year’s budget. It has a tax levy increase of 0.15 percent, which stays well below the district’s allowable 0.97 percent tax levy cap.

The budget allows for the expansion of the one-to-one Chromebook initiative to include students in grades 5 to 8, upgrades to the high school TV studio, equipment for the district’s new wellness center, a districtwide icommunication platform, and additional security enhancements.

Security enhancements include the addition of another security guard — the district’s fourth — and an upgraded security entrance. Here visitors will need to get buzzed into the main entrance door where they will be in a holding area behind another glass door that will only be opened after visitors show an ID to someone sitting at a window, business and operations administrator Kevin Coffey explained during a March meeting.

The approved budget also comes with a decrease in teaching positions, as the district is not looking to fill some vacancies left open by retirements. Those include a part-time speech and language position, two elementary teaching positions and one full-time secondary English teacher.

The assistant principal position at Cutchogue East Elementary School is also becoming part time, with that person also absorbing the role of district-wide instructional support administrator.

In addition to the budget, the district is putting up a capital reserve fund for residents to vote on.

The reserve fund, which cannot exceed $6 million over a term of 10 years, would be used to pay for repairs, renovations and improvements throughout the district, Mr. Coffey said.

If approved by the voters, the fund would be originally funded for $3 million, with $2.5 million from the employees retirement reserve and $500,000 from the unemployment reserve. Over time, the capital reserve can be funded annually with an amount not to exceed $750,000.

The budget vote is Tuesday, May 15 from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Mattituck High School gymnasium.

Additionally, residents will be asked to vote for two candidates to fill two open board seats, each for a three-year term. They include incumbents Doug Cooper and Barbara Wheaton and newcomer Jeffrey Connelly, who appears likely to fill the seat left vacant when former member Laura Jens-Smith resigned after being elected Riverhead Town Supervisor in November.

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