Members of the Northport-East Northport Board of Education discussed their opinions and preferences surrounding the district’s proposed future plan, ultimately approving a motion to implement one of the scenarios in the 2021-2022 school year.
In a Dec. 3 virtual board meeting and workshop, the board unanimously approved a motion to implement Adapted Scenario A for the upcoming year — which involves closing Dickinson Avenue and Bellerose Avenue elementary schools. According to the Northport-East Northport district website, it also converts the remaining four elementary schools to grades K-4, and both middle schools will house grades 5-8. The high school remains the same, with grades 9-12.
“The priority throughout this entire process, going back over a year ago now, was to maintain the diversity and excellence of the educational program, and that includes class size goals,” Superintendent Robert Banzer said at the meeting.
Scenario A was developed in consultation with the SES Study Team, which began in June 2019, and reviewed by the Community Advisory Committee. Since its inception, Banzer said, the district heard from nearly 1,900 participants within the community, after asking what priorities the district should consider throughout their planning.
“I do want to thank everybody for your participation in this process and giving us and the board the opportunity to hear from you,” he said.
According to the district, the savings that could be saved from utilizing Scenario A would be between $5.2-6.6 million.
The board also decided that the Brosnan building will continue to house administration unless a guaranteed buyer purchases the building, which would generate significant funds.
This planning process was implemented to create a “roadmap” for future decisions surrounding the district in a cost-effective way but will continue to benefit students and members of the community.
The district also noted on their website that many factors influenced the decision to implement the Future Study — primarily declining enrollment and the pending LIPA settlement.
They stated that since 2014, district enrollment has declined significantly from 5,748 students in the 2014-2015 school years, to 5,138 in the 2019-2020 school year. The decrease of 610 pupils equates to a -10.6% change over the past six years.
According to the district’s website, the LIPA suit settlement, agreed upon by the Town of Huntington Board in September 2020, will result in a reduction of LIPA’s tax payments to the district from $86 million to $46 million over the next seven years. This settlement will result in an increase in property tax payments for community home and business owners. The Future Study will help to mitigate this increase.