By Claire Walla
Buildings and Grounds / Athletics Budget
According to budget figures presented last Monday, January 24 by Montgomery Granger, Sag Harbor School District Supervisor of Buildings and Grounds, taxpayers are looking at an increase of about five percent for the portion of the budget related to his department. Though this increase is not substantial — and the proposed budget increase to athletics is even skimpier — both price tags are higher than last year’s budget.
Some of the cost-saving measures proposed in connection with the Buildings and Grounds Budget include replacing inefficient light bulbs in the Pierson theatre and at the elementary school. Granger said that at least 12 elementary school classrooms and some hallways are currently using inefficient lights. He proposed an additional $12,000 for this year’s budget to retrofit these lights and fixtures, a cost that will eventually see some returns.
“By the end of the school year we should recoup that cost,” he said.
Granger also said he examined the lights with a theatre-lighting expert who concluded that some of the electrical wiring needs replacing (at a cost of about $10,000) and the light fixtures should be replaced with more efficient bulbs. It will be another $25,000, Granger said, but “you’re going to eventually save on that because the lifespan [of the bulbs] will be longer.”
As for athletics, the overall budgeted cost for the next school year will go up by less than one percent, or about $455.
The cost of instructional stipends has increased from $305,000 to $342,491 in large part due to the fact that the Pierson Middle School has added a tennis program this year.
“We still don’t know what the boys’ program is going to look like in the spring, but the girls’ middle school program [this past fall] was a huge success,” Granger said, adding that the school hopes to add a JV and “hopefully” a varsity team next year.
But even with added costs, Granger said the athletics budget does not reflect steep increases partially because the cost of “athletic non-instructional salaries” is shared with Buildings and Grounds, many teams will not have to buy new uniforms next year, and the department actually over-budgeted for “chaperone salaries” last year.
The cost of supplies has also decreased in the budget, by about $16,400, to which Granger said: “I put in exactly what the coaches asked for this year and I did the same last year. This is what they requested.”
School Board Meeting
Pierson High School Senior Alexa Lantiere wowed the board of education on Monday with a presentation of her award-winning research paper on an invasive species of sea sponge. Lantiere is one of 57 finalists for the Intel Science Talent Search, noted board member Chris Tice. She added that the number of finalists from Long Island has decreased over the years, as “states like California are putting more effort into competitions like this.”
Tice reiterated the information given on the final slide of Lantiere’s Power Point presentation, which mapped-out the entire East End and showed that Sag Harbor is the only school east of the canal to have an Intel semifinalist.
The school board approved the reshuffling of personnel in the business department, a move that transitions two positions in name only. Janet Verneuille, who had formally been called “director of business operations,” is now district treasurer. And Keri Loughlin, who was formerly “district treasurer,” is now deputy school district treasurer.
The change comes by way of Suffolk County Civil Services, which told the school it did not have those employees working under the correct titles.
Dr. Gratto said both employees will maintain their current salaries (at $130,000 and $67,500) and will continue to perform all duties they had previously fulfilled under their former job titles.
District treasurer Janet Verneuille brought the board up to speed on Pierson’s cafeteria program, which might see minor profits by the end of the school year. According to Verneuille, the school has spent about $92,000 to date (including the price of implementing new computer software and a new steamer) and total revenues thus far equal $89,962.
“We’ll probably just about break even [by the end of the school year],” she said.
Verneuille also spoke to the money the school has raised by implementing new vending machines this year. Reports show the school has made about $827 so far, which is all profit as the company does not charge a fee, but gives the school a small percentage of the sales.
Though the Sag Harbor School District gets recycling included in its trash pick-up contract, grounds keeper Montgomery Granger explained that the district will begin efforts to make recycling more visible, beginning with a recycling pilot-program at the elementary school. Granger said he has already purchased blue baskets and bins for each classroom to collect paper scraps separately from other waste materials.
“We identified the need to help students learn that once you become a consumer, it’s important to help separate those things out at home, too,” Granger said.