Mr. Antonio Santana

Superintendent of Schools

Mr. Antonio Santana

May 2024

It’s hard to imagine that we are literally in the final stretch and quickly approaching the end of the school year. As such, May is a month full of exciting events and learning experiences for our learning community. From concerts and art shows to AP Exams and field trips - we are continually looking to highlight and celebrate student talent and provide opportunities for our students to grow and flourish.

We are very pleased to have had our proposed budget officially adopted by the Board of Trustees on April 17th. In summary, we were conservative in our approach given the proposed cuts to foundation aid, the loss of the federal funds associated with Covid, and the reduction of the building aid we had received in prior years. Above and beyond that, we had to also account for the rising costs associated with inflation and typical annual increases in expenditures. Having said all this, we were still able to propose a budget that features a tax levy increase of 2.70% that does not pierce the cap and an overall budget increase of 1.54% which is well below a CPI averaging 3.5% over that last 12 months. All this is accomplished by the strategic use of reserves, our interest income, and numerous budget tweaks that do not impact the overall operation of our school district. Should the foundation aid be restored, we would simply be able to replenish our reserves to keep them at healthy levels.

Even with the conservative approach, we're looking to add more support for math and reading at the elementary level, an additional special education and dual language class, purchase chromebooks for grades 3, 6, and 9, and additional digital resources - all while maintaining our class sizes and making no cuts to our teaching staff. Additionally, with the embedded transfer to capital line, we are setting aside $1 million for important upgrades like new fuel tanks at Brookhaven and South Haven, playground equipment for our elementary schools, an overhaul
to our fitness centers at the middle and high school, and much needed improvements to the high school auditorium.

On top of all that, voters will decide on two additional propositions; one to expand high school bus service with no additional increases to our transportation costs and the other to approve the use of our capital reserve to finally renovate the high school auditorium without raising taxes. This is all good stuff! And long overdue.

Our budget vote and trustee election will be held on May 21, 2024 at Bellport Middle School.
Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.. Please come out to vote!

These are exciting times! There are a lot of great things that continue to happen in South Country! Credit to our entire staff, community, and Board for working towards the betterment of our learning community. We are really optimistic about the prospect of a strong ending to this school year and a successful budget vote.

As always, there is lots to be proud of and it really is a great pleasure serving this community as your superintendent of schools!

Antonio Santana
Superintendent of Schools

Click here to view the letter in Spanish.