Expanded foreign language program, AP computer science highlights in 2019-2020 budget
Pine Bush Central School District residents will vote on a $118,775,551 million budget on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, an increase of 2.23 percent from the current budget.
Voters will also decide on two capital improvement projects totaling $53.9 million.
The tax levy for this budget – the amount raised by taxes – would increase by 3.07 percent, staying within New York state’s tax levy limit. That tax levy amount is $60,054,950, an increase of $1,789,564.
This proposed budget includes $56,227,358 in state aid, an increase of $1,282,656 from the current school year. The district would use $474,243 from the unappropriated fund balance to close the budget gap.
What to expect in 2019-2020
Program enhancements in the upcoming school year include:
- Expansion of foreign language to grade 7
- One new AP computer science class
- Creation of varsity girls’ golf team
- Addition of Big Brothers/Big Sisters at PBHS, Crispell, PBE
- Materials for a new Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program in grades K – 2
- Creation of K – 2 CASTLE program at PBE
The district plans to expand the foreign language program to seventh grade students on a half time basis. Students would take Spanish half the year before the full year program begins in eighth grade. Multiple studies show that learning a second language helps provide cognitive benefits, including memory improvement. Children who learn another language improve their creativity and analytical skills, and score higher on tests. Down the road, the benefits are even greater in this global economy.
The Collaborative Academic Social Emotional Teaching and Learning Environment (CASTLE) program at Pine Bush Elementary is geared toward bringing up to six students in grades kindergarten through second back to their home district instead of being educated at BOCES, providing not only a significant savings to the district but also a better education program for the students, according to Donna Geidel, assistant superintendent for Instruction. Currently, there is a CASTLE program at PBE for third through fifth grades.
CASTLE is a program for students with severe delays in social emotional regulation, including significant anxiety and emotional needs.
This past year, the district added school resource officers (SRO) to every school in the district, along with additional safety personnel in our secondary schools. Students, parents and staff can expect that same level of safety and security in 2019-2020.
“We are here to educate our students. In order to do that effectively, they must be and feel safe,” said Superintendent of Schools Tim Mains. “We brought SROs into our schools and it was the right thing to do. They have become crucial assets to our district.”
The process of creating this budget is rooted in the goals set out by the district and the board of education, which include providing students with innovative educational strategies to prepare them to become contributing members in an ever-changing world.
We will maintain the strong educational standards currently in the Pine Bush District and stay within our legal financial constraints.
The majority of the proposed budget, 78.85 percent, is allocated to support programs that directly benefit students. Another 10.68 percent goes toward the district’s capital component while 10.46 percent supports the district’s administrative functions.
In addition to the budget, voters will also decide on two capital propositions and elect three school board members.
Savings Through Retirements
The district has 11 retirements so far this year. Budget savings are generated when the district is able to replace veteran teachers, who are at the top of the salary schedule, with new staff members who earn less.
Two retiring instructional positions, both elementary teachers, would be eliminated based on reduced enrollment.
The community is encouraged to participate in the school budget vote, capital project vote and school board election on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Candidate petitions are due to the district on April 22. There are three seats available on the board of education.
For additional information about the budget, capital project or voting in the election, contact the district office at (845) 744-2031, ext. 4023.