The community recently gathered for Valley Stream District 30’s regular Board of Education meeting where highlights about the district-wide social studies curriculum were discussed and an update was provided on the 2018-2019 budget.
In an effort to continue to educate the public on District 30’s five-year strategic plan which focus on capital, communication, curriculum, equity, excellence and technology, Clear Stream Avenue Assistant Principal Yannie Chon presented on the social studies curriculum. This included the goal of identifying and monitoring the K-6 social studies curriculum implementation of the New York State Social Studies and College, Career and Civic Life framework with district-wide fidelity.
Chon discussed specific highlights from 2015-2017, including media specialists working with this framework to further enhance student skills. She also spotlighted the various grade levels and what social studies unit they are exploring while providing lesson examples. This consisted of integrating technology into research units and working closely with enrichment teachers.
In addition, Assistant Superintendent for Business Dr. Christopher Dillon presented on where the district stands on the budget process. He explained that the district is in a “readjustment period” due to the Green Acres Mall PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) and the reduction of the 2017-18 tax levy of 1.8 million dollars of the excess PIOLT funds the district received in 2016-17 and returned to the residents of Valley Stream District 30.
Through his presentation, Dr. Dillon explained that over the last six years District 30 has presented tax levy increases or decreases at or below zero. The district’s six-year average is (negative) -2.5 percent and the district has had the lowest school district average tax levy in Nassau County over the last six years.
Any excess PILOT money the district received in the 2016-2017 school year was used to reduce the tax levy for the 2017-2018 school budget along with a higher estimate of PILOT revenue. This resulted in a (negative) -15.17 percent tax levy, equating to more than a $300 decrease in resident taxes per average assessed house in District 30, thus readjusting for the underestimation of PILOTS in 2016-17. Any increase in the tax levy for next year will be due to the readjustment of not having any excess PILOT revenue to reduce the levy, thus bringing the levy up 13.7 percent to readjust for last year’s application of excess PILOTS. The district will have readjusted its levy to where it should have been had it not underestimated in 2016-17. The overall difference in taxes between 2018-19 and 2016-17 will be due to the Green Acres PILOT and “other factors” not in the control of the District. Dr. Dillon stressed tax levy increases do not equate to individual tax increases or decreases.
Noting that District 30 strives to be fiscally prudent each year, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Stirling also addressed the importance of providing students the necessary tools to succeed.
“I hope everyone tonight will understand and take away that I as well as the board, is committed and will always be committed to putting students first,” he said. “We strive to provide what we need in order to give our children every opportunity possible to not only do well here but also in the future.”
In preparation for the budget vote on May 15, Dr. Dillon also spoke about the district’s goal of debt free capital planning to access necessary capital needs at no additional cost to the taxpayer. If approved by the board, the proposition will require voter approval to establish the capital reserve fund not-to-exceed six million and not-to-exceed eight years.
Before the meeting concluded, the board also approved the district’s revised vision statement. Dr. Stirling explained that the revision was made to celebrate the strength of diversity among the student body and be more explicit about District 30’s commitment to diversity. It will now read: “In accomplishing the district mission, the district will encourage students to become active, culturally responsive, respectful, lifelong learners showing ownership for their own academic and social-emotional learning.”