Sewanhaka $179 million budget proposal to go before voters

James Galloway

Sewanhaka Central High School District’s $179 million budget proposal, which would use state aid to restore teaching positions cut during the economic downturn, will go before voters on Tuesday beside the budgets of its feeder elementary school districts.

The $179 million proposal is about $3.5 million, or just under 2 percent, higher than the current 2014-15 budget.

The tax levy would be about $138.5 million, roughly 2 percent, higher than the current fiscal year, though Sewanhaka does not levy its own taxes.

Capitalizing on a $2 million increase in state aid, the budget proposal would restore four teaching positions to “address class size issues in mathematics and foreign language,” Superintendent Ralph Ferrie said.

In 2013-14, the district cut 17 teaching and four teaching assistant positions.

Beyond the teacher additions, the budget includes a number of program enhancements including a talented and gifted program for seventh graders; rewritten seventh-grade curriculum in science, social studies and English; and expanded technology for staff. The adult education program would be maintained.

The budget also includes several capital projects, among them asbestos abatement, new athletic fields and new roofs at all five high schools.

Just outside the district’s most recent Board of Education meeting at Sewanhaka High School Thursday, a trash bin in the hall collected drips of water from a leak in the ceiling.

“No more buckets in the hallways because the roofs will all be replaced this summer,” Ferrie said at the district’s first budget meeting.

The Sewanhaka Central High School District comprises five high schools: Elmont, Floral Park, H. Frank Carey, Sewanhaka and New Hyde Park.

Students come from several feeder elementary school districts, including New Hyde Park-Garden City Park and Floral Park-Bellerose. Two Board of Education members chosen from each respective feeder district make up Sewanhaka’s board.

David Del Santo, Sewanhaka’s vice president, is running unopposed for re-election in New Hyde Park-Garden City Park.

The Sewanhaka budget will be attached to the ballots on the feeder districts’ proposed budgets. For residents in New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District, polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Manor Oaks School library.

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