South Orangetown Central School District

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Dear South Orangetown Families, Staff, Students and Community,

Over the past two months, I have been heartened by the impact of the new, “power off” cell phone policy at South Orangetown Middle School. In classrooms, in the cafeteria and on the playgrounds, students are more attentive and engaged. The focus is on connecting face-to-face, in real life and it is wonderful to see middle schoolers being kids: talking, laughing and playing. In fact, our administrative team is discussing how this initiative may be phased up in the future–stay tuned.

On April 18, our Board of Education adopted the proposed 2024-25 school budget, which totals $110,595,031 and reflects a tax levy increase of 1.5%, which is within the allowable levy increase. Our leadership team has worked to develop a fiscally responsible spending plan that provides a quality educational experience for all and protects the District’s long-term financial stability. Detailed information regarding the budget is posted on the Budget webpage and our budget newsletter will be mailed to all South Orangetown residents in May.

The results of our School Community Survey will be presented at a Board of Education meeting on May 14. We were thrilled to have such strong participation from parents, staff and students! Our administrators and Executive Leadership Team are using feedback from the survey, along with data points and ongoing work on the Profile of the Graduate, for goal-setting and strategic planning. In the coming months, we will be conducting a comprehensive transportation study to find efficiencies and streamline busing across the District.

In the meantime, we are excited to launch our Capital Improvements Project! Renovations at both elementary schools will be done over the course of this summer and next. Outdoor classrooms at all four schools are slated for installation this year. For more about this work, be sure to check out the SOCSD Update that was mailed to South Orangetown residents earlier this spring.

Finally, springtime is often filled with celebrations of student achievement–spring concerts, honor society inductions, scholarship events and more. Congratulations to Tappan Zee High School Class of 2024 Valedictorian Shayan Haque and Salutatorian Carol Daquilema on their impressive academic accomplishments. I look forward to hearing where their paths take them after graduation.

And congratulations to Tappan Zee High School’s FIRST Robotics Competition Team #6911, SO BOTZ, on an outstanding season which culminated with a strong performance at the 2024 World Championship in Houston last month!


Brian Culot, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools