Budget talks at Sullivan West
LAKE HUNTINGTON, NY — On February 14, the Sullivan West School Board met to discuss the upcoming budget for 2019-2020 school year. This was the first school board discussion regarding the budget with the public attending. The budget will be one of the main topics on the school board’s agenda for the next several meetings until the board has gathered all the figures for the final budget.
Superintendent Stephen Walker emphasized the current night’s meeting would not involve dollars and cents. At this time, they don’t know enough about the finances yet to discuss details. They don’t have all the information necessary to generate the tax levy, but they will have access to this information in the next couple of days, and then meet with the finance committee to review this information.
Walker also stressed that the most important reason for not talking about dollars and cents at this meeting was due to their need to determine their budget values. What comes into play is the board’s vision and plan as to how they are going to use community and state resources to try to continue to add to the student experience at Sullivan West through the next school year.
The board can’t come up with a final budget just now because the amount of funding coming from Albany has not yet been determined. All that is available at this time is the governor’s proposal in terms of state aid, but that amount might be changed by the state legislature as the budget process moves forward. This is something every school district has to deal with. The board has to try to balance these two factors to figure out how much of their vision can be supported financially within the means of this community.
Walker said, through all of their discussions, it’s clear that the Sullivan West School Board values the education of the whole child. This support of the child and the student’s growth is not just in the classroom or academically, but also socially, emotionally, on the field of play, on the stage, playing instruments, and as critical thinkers, as well as how they are functioning mentally and physically. Educational excellence for every Sullivan West student is a goal the board would like to achieve. However, being able to reach that goal depends on available funding.
The board will vote on the final budget for Sullivan West School on April 22. Once the board passes it, the budget will be placed before the public for their consideration at the annual vote in May.