The Mattituck-Cutchogue Board of Education adopted a $40.7 million budget for the upcoming school year at its meeting Wednesday.
The budget, unanimously approved, is a 0.26% increase compared to the current $40.6 million budget. The tax levy increase is 1.9%, below the district’s allowable 2.5% tax levy cap.
More than half of the budget will go toward employee salaries and related taxes, district officials said. Health insurance for employees will account for 16% of the budget. Other expenditures include utilities, facilities, instructional resources, pupil personnel, technology and more.
The district divided its budgetary goals into three categories: strengthening language arts instruction, improving the learning environment and leveraging district investments.
According to the superintendent’s budget presentation, the district will strengthen language arts instruction by continuing to expand STEAM programs, advancing language learning at all grade levels, revising the guidance and health curriculum, expanding high school electives and adding reading programs to support English as a New Language students.
The district will replace internal furniture, re-figure the libraries to include “maker spaces” for hands-on learning opportunities and add more wireless, virtual reality and at-home learning programs.
The district also plans to update, replace and expand safety and security equipment and implement energy-performance projects district-wide.
This year’s ballot, offered in Spanish and English, will contain two propositions outside of the budget.
The first, a roughly $2 million plan, would tackle safety and security upgrades and repair air conditioning in district buildings.
The other proposition, at $1.6 million, would construct a field on the western side of the Mattituck High School property and would include a walkway, fence, bleacher pad and fenced-in dugout near the back of the school.
Both propositions would be funded through the district’s $3.75 million capital reserve fund.
At the meeting, a discrepancy in the language of the upcoming district newsletter about the budget prompted the board to modify the wording.
Board member Doug Cooper suggested they remove the words “no cost” before explanations about each propositions from the newsletter.
“The money does belong to the taxpayer, so there is a cost,” Mr. Cooper said. The board collectively agreed and plan to update the newsletter.
The board will hold a mandatory budget hearing May 14. The location has not yet been determined.
The budget vote is set for Tuesday, May 21 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the high school gym.
Photo caption: Mattituck BOE President Charles Anderson and Superintendent Jill Gierasch. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)