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West Babylon school board OKs budget

The West Babylon school board Tuesday night adopted a proposed budget of $98,685,625 for next year that makes some personnel cuts but maintains class sizes and school programs such as electives and remedial services.

The proposed tax levy increase of 3.67 percent is at the state-imposed cap and will raise the tax bill on a home assessed at $3,000 by about $207.60 next year, less for homeowners in the state school tax relief program.

Superintendent Anthony Cacciola said Wednesday that administrators never had seriously considered piercing the cap “based on the fiscal climate right now and the fact that a number of residents on the south end of the district were affected by Sandy.”

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To abide by the cap, the district proposes to lay off two teaching assistants and two paraprofessionals. Four retiring teachers would not be replaced, and five assistant coaching positions would be cut.

A projected decline in enrollment, from 4,197 to 4,101, would mean that class sizes remain constant, Cacciola said.

The budget proposal includes $50,000 that Cacciola said would go toward school surveillance cameras and equipment to make exterior doors in schools more secure.

The cameras would not be placed in classrooms or bathrooms, Cacciola said, but would be limited “pretty much to hallways and the exterior.” Cacciola said the move was partly a response to the Sandy Hook massacre in December.

Under a policy draft the board is considering, recordings could also be used “to monitor student behavior” and in disciplinary proceedings.

The draft says school district employees can only use audio recordings with the superintendent’s permission.

Residents can register to vote at school buildings or in the district clerk’s office in the administration building through May 16.

Voting is May 21 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.


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