The Herricks Board of Education members made several suggestions for budget restorations they would make as a result of receiving more state aid than anticipated and having some other additional funding during their most recent meeting on Match 7 at the community center.
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Helen Costigan said that approximately $250,000 was coming from additional state aid.
Board trustee Dr. Sanjay Jain suggested that one Gemini teacher be restored to the budget. The initial budget ideas called for the Gemini program to be eliminated. Dr. Jain’s thought was that this would allow the program to be sustained and “hopefully we can wait for better times.”
President Christine Turner agreed with that idea, noting “It’s been valuable to the students who have gone through it.”
She added that sometimes when programs are eliminated, it is difficult to bring them back.
Although Dr. Jain did not have any guidance on how the Gemini program could be sustained with one teacher, he suggested that that one teacher would probably be split between the three district elementary schools.
Board member Nancy Feinstein asked that the board talk about putting the drama program back into the budget in some fashion. Turner noted that one potential proposal for the drama program was to have one production, such as a musical, every other year, alternating with the drama production.
Feinstein also asked that the district look into some of its trips, such as Frost Valley and Boston. She suggested alternatives, such as a trip to Philadelphia rather than Boston, which might be cheaper.
The suggestion from vice president Jim Gounaris was to have a new math chair, stating that he “can’t believe that we’ve gone so long without a dedicated math chairperson.” He was looking at potentially having someone who would be able to cover all of the grades from kindergarten through the end of high school.
Turner also wanted the board to look at class sizes and keeping those numbers down wherever possible.
“Having the smaller class sizes benefits every student,” she said.
Board member Brian Hassan was concerned about the idea of clubs being lost.
In response to all of these suggestions, Superintendent Dr. John Bierwirth said he would look into these options and give the board more specifics to be reviewed in the future. The budget will be presented at the next board of education meeting on March 21.