Tuesday's budget hearing at the Levittown Memorial Education Center opened with a Public Be Heard session that featured five different speakers. While the topics varied widely, the common theme was the protection of our children's wellness and education.
Levittown resident Debbie Howe, speaking on behalf of the PTA, expressed concerns that some of the district's vending machines were not in compliance with the Nutrition Education Goals stated on the Levittown Public Schools website.
"Some of the vending machines in our schools have Sour Patch Kids, Snickers bars and Fun Dip," said Howe. "This is a violation of the district's wellness policy."
According to the district website, "fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, low-fat dairy products, healthy food preparation methods and health enhancing nutrition practices shall be promoted."
The second speaker was Wantagh resident Jane Finkelstein, and she questioned the board if teacher concessions would actually be a $3.9 million savings to the district.
Wantagh resident Colleen Napoli was next up at the podium, and she updated the board on the status of a recent petition and letter that she wrote to Levittown United Teachers (LUT) President Therese Rogers. "I received a lot of positive feedback that resulted in the collection of over 1,000 resident signatures on a petition directed to the LUT to request its membership to fairly negotiate concessions to their current contract in an effort to aid our community during a national economic crisis," said Napoli.
East Broadway Elementary School teacher Jennifer Thearle was another speaker in the Public Be Heard portion of the meeting and discussed the importance of sparing the district's reading program from budget cutbacks.
"The board is looking to find ways to make cuts that have the least negative impact on our kids," responded Trustee Edward Powers.
Summit Lane PTA member Theresa Tonis also made a presentation to the board and expressed concerns over increased class sizes for second graders in the district. "We need to use our resources wisely," said Tonis. "The cuts need to be equally distributed."
Next on the agenda was a motion to discard or donate obsolete equipment including a shredder at Wisdom Lane, two printers at Levittown Memorial Education Center, three cameras at Division Avenue High School, a printer at Jonas E. Salk Middle School and 26 books at East Broadway Elementary School.
The board also approved Tender Garden (3100 Hempstead Tpke.) and Kiddie Junction (3 North Village Green) as the two sites for the Universal Pre-K Program for the 2011-12 school year.
Another item discussed was an early morning program, tentatively titled "L.A.M.P" (Levittown A.M. Program). The day-care style program is intended to appeal to working parents who are in need of assistance before regular school hours. The program is expected to be available from 7:10 a.m. until 9:10 a.m. and will cost $100 per month per student.
- The budget vote and Board of Education election will take place on Tuesday, May 17 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will be followed by a special board meeting to certify the vote.
- The next Board of Education planning session will be held on Wednesday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.
- A regular meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 8 at 7:30 p.m.
- Adult Education tuition rates were approved by the board to be adjusted from $6.47 per hour to $6.68 per hour, effective July 1, 2011.
Times for the 2011-12 school year were adjusted to:
- High School and GCTech 7:27 A.M. to 2:25 P.M.
- Middle School 7:57 A.M. to 2:55 P.M.
- Elementary School 9:10 A.M. to 3:28 P.M.
The board also approved and accepted the following gifts:
- A check for $232.60 for Abbey Lane School, given by Box Tops for Education
- A grant from the Abbey Lane PTA for the purchase of two Smart Boards for Abbey Lane School
- A dining room table and chairs to be used in the ABA classroom at LMEC, given by Margaret Ippolito
- Thirty baseball hats and 80 t-shirts for MacArthur baseball, plus snacks for MacArthur softball, given by the MacArthur Dugout Club
- A check for $120 for Northside's fifth grade picnic, given by Valcin Frozen Treats
- $800 from Scholastic Tool Kit Money for the East Broadway library
- Three yards of clay mix for the MacArthur baseball and softball fields, given by Michael Pappas
- Time and labor to ready the greenhouse at LMEC for planting of seedlings for future use at school gardens, given by Stanis Asphalt Corp.
SkillsUSA winners, Division Avenue bowlers and local artists were honored by the board prior to the meeting. Check Levittown Patch later this week for coverage.