During the Lynbrook Public Schools Board of Education meeting on May 5, several important updates were shared with the community, along with student recognitions.
The meeting kicked off with a presentation of this month’s Bern Seiderman Art Gallery exhibit featuring district artwork from the 2020-2021 Nassau All-County Virtual Art Exhibition. The gallery highlighted art from 33 Lynbrook students in grades K-12. Following the presentation, Board President William Belmont welcomed the following new staff members to the district — elementary teachers Anderson Alleva, Josie Botwinick and Julia Bonacasa, along with new long-time substitutes Nicholas Musto and Anna Tribble.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melissa Burak recognized four students from Lynbrook High School for their recent achievements. Jolie Orbetta was a recipient of the Nassau County Senior Scholarship Artist award and was commended for her talent. High school students Ashley Roth, Kathryn Postiglione and Ryan Marrione were also honored for being crowned award winners in the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair for their exceptional research.
The board paused its regular meeting to open the district’s annual budget hearing. Dr. Paul Lynch, assistant superintendent for finance, operations and information systems, discussed the 2021-2022 budget highlights, provided a summary of expenditures, spoke about revenue projection, other propositions that voters will see on the ballot and the three-part budget summary. Budget priorities consist of continued staff development for technology, special education and reading, an additional special education classroom at the elementary level and the purchase of book selections from diverse perspectives to offer student choice. Dr. Lynch presented on each department budget and what they each consist of. Overall, the proposed budget is $92,907,426 with a proposed tax levy increase of 0.98%, well below the allowable levy of 1.88%. To learn more about the 2021-2022 budget, please visit www.lynbrookschools.org/district/finance_and_budget. The community is encouraged to vote either by absentee ballot, which must be requested in advance, or at their designated voting location from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on May 18. The last day to register to vote is May 12.
Following the budget hearing, the board reopened the regular meeting. Dr. Burak shared her Superintendent’s Report with the community which consisted of her monthly COVID-19 update. Principals and PTAs are working hard to prepare for end of the year events. New York State has issued extensive guidance as to how to conduct these events based on each event’s size and venue. All Lynbrook events are slated to take place outside their respective building locations except for the Kindergarten Center and high school graduates who will have their ceremonies on the field at Marion Street School. Adhering to the state’s guidance, each graduate will be able to have two guests and contact tracing will take place, along with the implementation of health screening questionnaires. In addition, due to the size of most of the events, proof of vaccination or testing will be required for all participants (except those attending Waverly Park’s graduation). If an individual is not vaccinated and needs to be tested, the district has arranged testing dates on site at Lynbrook High School. Unvaccinated individuals must be tested 72 hours in advance of the event they are attending. Dr. Burak noted that plans can change from now until graduation season but the district is prepared and will remain flexible to the changing times.
Looking to the future, Dr. Burak shared an update about the next phase, phase five, of the reopening task force. Before the end of the month, the task force will hold its first meeting with the hope of focusing on a full return to school for all students. Task force members will discuss building logistics such as adjusting to a full student body return while safely allowing lunch, travel to and from classes, field trips and volunteers in the buildings. The hope is that the committee will be able to propose recommendations to the board so that when final guidance from New York State is available, all that will be needed is a few adjustments. In June, families who are still remote will receive a letter from the district asking them to share their intentions on whether or not they would like their child or children to return to full in person learning in the fall. The phase five committee will utilize this information to continue the planning process for September.
Before concluding her report, information was presented about the district’s summer programs. Lynbrook Summer Playground and the Summer High School Program will be taking place this summer. In addition, a new program, the Summer Academy, will be held. The Summer Academy will consist of three, one-week sessions for students in pre-k through seventh grade. It will provide opportunities for students to hone their ELA and math skills through exciting and engaging in-person activities. The program will run four days a week from 8:30-11 a.m. and each week will be centered around different themes. The first week, July 12-15, will be focused on the wide world of sports; the second week, July 19-22, will allow students to virtually travel the world and learn about other cultures and the final week, July 26-29, will focus on friendships and cooperation. Students can choose to participate in one, two or all three weeks. The cost for each week will be $30, spots will be limited and priority will be given to students who have had their academic progress monitored during the school year.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Lynch provided a capital projects update. That evening the board approved a contract for the Kindergarten Center boiler replacement. He also reported that the work on the Lynbrook High School addition is moving along nicely. Walls have been painted, bathrooms are being completed, some of the wiring is done and windows are in. The project is right on schedule.