At the last meeting before the community heads to a budget vote, the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District announced a new assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, as well as granted tenure to 20 employees.
"Those of you that are here tonight know that it is not easy to get tenure in this district," said Dr. Henry Kiernan, superintendent of the Bellmore-Merrick CHSD. "This is an honor. We expect you to be with us for a long time and well into the future."
Both teachers and central administrative staff were among the 20 that were given tenure at Wednesday's meeting.
Budget talks did not escape the meeting, however, with Cynthia Strait Regal, assistant superintendent for business, discussing the final budget, which stands at $132.7 million, a 1 percent increase from the 2011-12 budget of $131.36.
"We have not had a budget increase this small since the '90s," she said. If the budget vote fails twice, an additional $2.5 million will need to be cut from the budget, she added.
Although the budget is tight this year, that did not deter parents and students from coming out in support of a special education teacher in the biology labs next year – a position slated to be cut.
Although it was mentioned that there would be extra time for labs as well as teachers available in the classrooms during lunch, one mother said, "My daughter already works through lunch and comes in early for extra help."
"We are used to be accommodated and supported, which is part of the reason that the community has been so supportive of [the board]. I hope you think carefully about a plan B. When you have a successful situation, you should protect it," said another parent.
One student added that not only does she feel more comfortable with an additional teacher in the lab, but she wouldn't have done as well if she didn't have the extra attention.
After listening intently to what the parents and students had to say, Dr. Matthew Kuschner, board president, said that the board would discuss the issue in executive session and would contact the speakers to follow up.
The next board meeting is on June 6.