On Monday, Feb. 9, the Floral Park-Bellerose (FPB) School District held their regular board of education meeting, previewing the 2015-’16 school budget.
School board trustee David Fowler announced in his committee report for the high school, addressing a similar issue that all New York State school districts, including FPB, that Governor Andrew Cuomo has not released the school aid runs, the reports about how much additional money each of the school districts are expected to receive under the governor’s budget proposal.
“It’s really unconscionable, considering all of the reform that has taken place over the past couple of years,” said FPD School Board President Laura Ferone. She read a drafted letter, addressed to the governor, explaining why it is critical for the school districts to know how much money is expected from the state, to be able to build their own budget for the upcoming year.
Some speculate that the governor has not released the runs, as a way to get school districts to agree to the state reforms, which include:
• new teacher evaluation system
• five-year tenure process
• Universal Pre-K
• merit pay for highly effective teacher performance
• total disclosure (ethics reform)
Additionally, Assemblyman Ed Ra addressed some of his issues with the governor’s proposed budget (Feb. 11, 2015 edition of the Floral Park Dispatch) saying, “I believe many of the governor’s education reform proposals represent a doubling down on high-stakes testing and a continued decline of local control over our schools.”
FPB is expected to receive approximately $66,000 in aid, according to the governor’s January 2015 budget address. Assistant Superintendent for Business Michael Fabiano gave a brief presentation of FPB’s preliminary numbers, previewing a $26,533,646 budget, up $418,995 from last year’s $26,114,651.
Fabiano explained a proposal to add 2.2 full-time staff positions, at a cost of $205,000.
Some of the highlights of the district’s 2015-’16 budget goals are to: continue all existing programs, maintain favorable class sizes, comply with state mandates, provide professional development opportunities and meet objectives in a cost-effective manner.
Budget presentations with official numbers are expected to begin at the next public board meeting, on Tuesday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. at John Lewis Childs School in the auditorium.
The district has used two of its four snow days this year. Floral Park has recently chosen to operate on a delayed opening schedule when the conditions were manageable, but still required extra caution.
“Delayed openings have helped,” said Opiekun. “We can still get the day in, but it gives everyone a chance to get in and get going.”
Announcements are made on the local radio stations, on Cablevision’s News 12, posted on the district’s website (www.floralpark.k12.ny.us), and on ConnectEd and TextCaster by 6 a.m.
When the district is closed or operating on a delayed opening, this affects students attending private, parochial, BOCES and other special schools outside the area who rely on Floral Park-Bellerose district transportation.