New Hyde Park-Garden City Park voters will be voting on more than just the 2013-14 school budget this May as the board of education will put another measure before the public in order to pay for security upgrades in the wake of the school shootings in Newtown, CT.
At the March 11 meeting at the New Hyde Park Road School, the board authorized the use of an amount not to exceed $400,000 from its capital reserve fund to be used for security projects to upgrade facilities. Some of the improvements would include panic alarms, upgrading intercom and video surveillance systems, one-button lock down capabilities, high security locks on doors, new doors, upgraded public address systems allowing emergency calls from classrooms, ADA disability access for new entryways.
The items come as part of a list compiled by building principals after obtaining input from the various PTAs.
The district will pay for the upgrades through an allocated amount of $206,000 in its capital transfer line of the 2013-14 budget and $200,000 from its capital reserve. Superintendent Robert Katulak noted that he sent the board a list of items that totaled a little less than $400,000 for the proposal that includes all the items prioritized by parents and administrators. The district currently has about $1.5 million in its first account of $10 million according to the superintendent.
Katulak was looking for the board authorize the district to place the measure in front of the public on the May 2013 budget vote to allow the district to use the additional $200,000 in capital transfer to buy items. Since the additional $200,000 is in the special reserve fund established by voters in 2007, the use of the funds in the reserve account requires a public vote.
“The original proposal was going to look at doing the whole thing through the capital reserve account but we put money into the capital budget transfer line and there’s $206,000 in that so we don’t have to complete that,” Katulak said. “It actually helps our budget figures when we leave that and we use that but we have to designate that for this specific purpose.”
The entire project is eligible for state aid at a reimbursement rate of 34.9 percent. Assistant superintendent of business Michael Frank said that if the governor’s budget passes, it would add an additional 10 percent, making it about 45 percent.
Just because the board authorizes the amount does not mean the district has to spend that full amount of $400,000. Any money left unspent would go back into the account.
“This is security,” trustee David Del Santo said. “Listen, I’d rather have extra money and spend it for security than have to nickel and dime a security project.”