The Levittown community came out on Tuesday, May 21, to approve the budget for the 2013-14 school year. There were 1,809 votes for and 1,205 votes against the $195,590,207 budget, a $5,593,626 increase from last year. Only $131.9 million of the budget would be coming from taxpayers.
“I would like to thank the central office and the board for putting together a budget that was highly agreeable to the public,” said Mike Pappas, president of the Board of Education.
The 2013-14 budget stood at a 2.98 percent increase from the 2012-13 budget and below the allowable tax levy cap of 3.54 percent.
As the budget stands now, 15 full time positions will be eliminated, as well as a mix of 20 clerical and teacher aide positions. The biggest increases year-over-year were for teacher benefits as well as salary increases. Teacher salaries made up 58 percent of the $195.6 million budget, while benefits increased $4.4 million and made up 26 percent of the budget.
The community also approved a $25 million capital reserve fund that can be used during the course of a decade for improvements like construction and renovations, with 1,348 votes against 973 votes. The capital reserve fund does not impact the tax levy.
In addition to the approval of the budget, the community re-elected James Moran and Peggy Marenghi to their seats on the Board of Education. Moran secured 1,604 votes while Marenghi was able to garner 1,564 votes. Challenger Peter Zirogiannis got 1,132 votes.
“I would like to congratulate the board members that won,” Pappas said.
In addition to the budget, the Board of Education announced a new principal for Division Avenue High School. Joan Lorelli was named principal of Division for the 2013-14 school year, an honor which she said she is grateful to have.
“This is just wonderful news,” she said. “I would like to thank the board and the central office and I look forward to serving the Levittown community for years to come.”
Currently, Lorelli is an assistant principal at Division.
Levittown Ed on Facebook
In other news, James A. Moran, a lay budget committee member, decided to start a Facebook group in order to get the word out about school budgets and to gather ideas for cost savings among the next generation. The group, named Levittown Matters, already has about 71 members and is gaining steam, Moran said. Some of the ideas that came out of the group already are fundraisers, music festivals, supply sharing with other districts and retirement buyouts, he told the audience.
Dr. James Grossane, superintendent, thanked him for his commitment to Levittown Schools, adding, “Some of these things we do already, but I look forward to hearing the suggestions and we will look into them.”