District Holds Budget Hearing; Shares Updates With Community

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Lynbrook High School orchestra students kicked off the Lynbrook Public Schools Board of Education meeting on May 8. Administrators, board members, faculty, students and community members gathered in the Lynbrook High School cafeteria for the district’s budget hearing in preparation for the budget vote on May 21. Student recognitions and important district updates were also shared with the community. 

Assistant Superintendent for Finance, Operations, and Information Systems Dr. Paul Lynch presented an overview of the district’s 2019-20 budget. For further details on the budget and presentation, please click here

Student artwork was displayed throughout the cafeteria from the district’s All-County artists. The board recognized one of the 2019 Nassau All-County Art Exhibition artists from Lynbrook High School who was accidentally left out of the program. Junior Kiera Derrig was commended by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak and the board for her outstanding piece and received a T-shirt and certificate from the Art Supervisors Association. The board also honored Lynbrook High School senior Millie Coria for receiving the Nassau BOCES Outstanding Student award for animation and digital media design. 

In preparation for the upcoming school year, Board President William Belmont welcomed two new teachers to the district: Kristen Montgomery (Kindergarten Center) and Alexa Carvelli (Marion Street Elementary School). He also announced that Lynbrook High School’s guidance chairperson Laurie Mitchell will be the district’s new director of guidance and will begin her new role on July 1. 

Board Vice President Lesli Deninno provided an update from the recent facilities committee meeting regarding the student population at Marion Street. The committee is utilizing Suffolk BOCES to develop a census of the area and are looking into the possibility of working with a demographer to review what steps the committee should take next. 

During the Superintendent’s Report, Dr. Burak announced that the district was once again selected by the NAMM Foundation as one of the Best Communities for Music Education. She commended the district’s entire music department and Fine and Performing Arts Director Joseph Pallotta. Dr. Burak also reminded the community about the upcoming budget vote on May 21 and encouraged everyone to register to vote if they had not done so already. Registration is open until May 15. On that date at Lynbrook High School, the district will be partnering with the Lynbrook Teacher’s Association for the Child ID program. Community members can register to vote while also getting ID cards for their children.

In addition, Dr. Burak provided an update about New York State’s substantial equivalency requirement (equivalent education between private schools and public schools). At the district’s February board of education meeting, she explained that the unfunded mandate would require superintendents from public schools to review their local private schools to ensure that they are meeting the same standards. According to Dr. Burak, the New York State Education Department heard the outcries of school officials and has suspended the substantial equivalency guideline. 

To conclude her report, Dr. Burak encouraged the community to come out on May 15 as Lynbrook North Middle School, Lynbrook South Middle School and Marion Street Elementary School participate in the ALS Ride for Life event. Students will be walking and cheering on ALS Ride for Life founder Chris Pendergast and his team as he travels through Lynbrook. She also shared with the community that summer program information will be available after the budget vote. This year, Summer Playground will begin on July 1 at West End and Marion Street schools. Also beginning on July 1 will be the summer high school program at Lynbrook High School and the summer middle school program at Lynbrook South Middle School. The district’s Summer STEAM Academy will be held at Lynbrook High School and will begin on July 8. 

Dr. Gerard Beleckas, assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction and assessment, also provided more information about summer. To keep students engaged over the summer months, Dr. Beleckas explained that this year’s summer reading program was designed based upon a survey that all elementary students completed about their favorite books and what they are planning on reading next. The titles are in the process of being compiled into a brochure and FlipGrids are being created for the texts to allow students to share their thoughts and insights on the books as they read them. In addition, elementary students of all ages will be encouraged to read “The Wild Robot” by Peter Brown. At the end of the summer, the district is hoping to partner with the Lynbrook Public Library to host a book talk across the grade levels. Dr. Beleckas shared that Allison Curran, elementary curriculum specialist, will be hosting summer reading pep rallies to get students excited about the program.

Toward the end of the meeting, Dr. Lynch provided a capital projects update for the community. He stated that the board was voting that evening on awarding the contracts for the initial bond projects. This included contracts for the new locker rooms at North Middle School and South Middle School, the wrestling room at Atlantic Avenue and the gymnasium air conditioners at Waverly Park, North and South middle schools. Dr. Lynch also said that on May 9th the district would open the bid for the work being done this summer at Marion Street School. There will be five student restrooms which will be replaced, and the locker room will be completely redone. In addition, a contract for work on a bathroom at West End will also be awarded.