School budgets by the numbers

05/13/2010 12:00 AM |

Budget votes and school board elections take place Tuesday, May 18,  with polls open from 3 to 9 p.m., except in Greenport, where voting takes place between 2 and 8 p.m. Results of the votes will be available here at as they come in.

It has it been one of the most grueling budget planning seasons in years, with administrators and school board members working to avoid spending increases and tax hikes at a time when they know taxpayers are hurting.

Even if all five budgets pass, school officials know they’re not out of the woods. They don’t have any idea how much money might come from New York State. In past years, they could generally use the governor’s proposal as a conservative estimate and it was likely they would end up with a little more money thanks to state legislators. This year, the state is broke and no matter what amount is promised, school officials know they can’t assume the checks will be in the mail.

In the current school year, while schools got the promised aid, Gov. David Paterson delayed some payments. And nobody is betting that districts will see promised reimbursements of the MTA tax they paid in the current school year or will have to pay in next year.

Following is a breakdown of each district’s proposed spending plan, with information about what’s in each budget and what would be sacrificed if the budget failed at the polls, forcing the affected district to adopt a contingency spending plan. The New York State Education Department requires districts whose budgets fail to eliminate equipment purchases not vital to health and safety; extra-curricular activities, including sports; and anything not related to bare bones student education.

Voters in Greenport, Oysterponds and New Suffolk would get a second chance at a budget vote if their proposals fail to pass, but Mattituck-Cutchogue and Southold have eliminated that second vote and would be forced to adopt contingency budgets if they don’t get a yes vote.



Projected Student Enrollment

1492, down from 1515

Budget Request

2010-11: $36.54 million

2009-10: $35.99 million

Change: +1.5 %, the lowest ever proposed

Tax Rate

2010-11: $78.73 per $100 of assessed valuation

Current: $76.12 per $100 of assessed valuation

Change: +3.43 %

What’s in it?

All extracurricular activities will be maintained in the school’s proposed budget. The plan includes the purchase of a 24-passenger wheelchair bus and repairs to the sidewalks at Cutchogue East Elementary school. There is a multiyear plan to replace the aging fleet of computers; 150 out of 525 computers will be replaced in 2010-11. There is funding for 25 additional students attending the BOCES tech programs. Teachers took a raise from the current year and split it over two years. The second half is included in this budget.

Contingency Plan if Budget Fails

The district would have to make $643,060 in cuts and would have to eliminate all spending on equipment and building and ground improvements except for emergencies. All nonvarsity athletic teams and one teacher position would have to be cut. The owner of a home assessed at $600,000 would save $8.25 per month.

School board

Three candidates seek two seats. William Gatz is running against incumbents Janique Nine and Lynne Krauza.


Projected Student Enrollment

900, down from 923

Budget Request

2010-11: $25.67 million

Current: $25.15 million

Change: +2.24%

Tax Rate

2010-11: $73.45 per $100 of assessed valuation

Current: $72.45 per $100 of assessed valuation

Change: +1.5%, the lowest proposed in 13 years

What’s in it?

Programs and services remain intact and the middle school initiative will be launched.

Some part-time teaching positions are being eliminated, in line with lower enrollment projections.

Voters also will be asked to pass judgment on two propositions.

1. The district seeks to establish a capital reserve fund over an approximate 10-year period to deal with major replacements such as roofs or boilers. The $8.5 million fund would start with an $850,000 allocation from district reserve funds, so it wouldn’t add to the tax rate this year. Even if voters approve the establishment of the fund, any expenditures from it would require voter approval.

2. Southold Free Library seeks approval of a $765,052 stipend from the district that would raise the library tax rate from $23.74 to $24.74 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Contingency Plan if Budget Fails

Student supplies, community use of the building and grounds and certain equipment purchases would be cut.

The elementary enrichment program, elementary theatrical production, co-curricular clubs and advisers and some junior high sports programs would have to be eliminated.

Department chairpersons and grade-level liaisons would be scrapped.

School board

One seat: Judi Fouchet is running unopposed.


Projected Student Enrollment

605 down from 621

Budget Request

2010-11: $13.83 million

Current: $13.82 million

Change: +.11%

Tax Rate

2010-11: $62.28 per $100 of assessed valuation

Current: $59.60 per $100 of assessed valuation

Change: +4.5%

What’s in it?

Programs and services remain intact, despite 4.8 faculty cutbacks, including the loss of two popular teachers, one in the English department and the other in physical education. Some class sizes will increase slightly.

There’s an increase in spending to accommodate additional students in the NJROTC program; 20 new student laptop computers; and repairs to bleachers that would otherwise have to be removed because of safety concerns.

Contingency Plan if Budget Fails

Certain salaries probably would have to be cut and equipment purchases not related to health and safety issues would be eliminated.

Sports and other extracurricular activities could be eliminated.

School board

Two seats for which three candidates are running: two incumbents, Heather Wolf and Tina Volinski, and challenger Michael Reed.


Projected Student Enrollment

180 down from 195

Budget Request

2010-11: $5.5 million

Current: $5.66 million

Change: -.02% percent (decrease achieved by applying money from the district’s fund balance to avoid a tax hike)

Tax Rate

2010-11: $36.30 per $100 of assessed valuation

Current: $36.50 per $100 of assessed valuation

Change: 0%, because the board elected to apply money from its fund balance to avoid raising taxes.

What’s in it?

Some money is back in the budget for 20 computers, field trips and some for a summer school program, although not enough to pay for all. Contributions and tuition would have to cover the balance.

Contingency Plan if Budget Fails

Some staffing would be affected, although the board and superintendent haven’t addressed how much of a cut would be needed or where it would apply.

Nonessential equipment would be eliminated and extracurricular activities would be on the chopping block.

School board

Four candidates seek three seats. Incumbent Carl Demarest is running against Deborah Dumont, Thomas Gray and Dorothy-Dean Thomas.


Projected Student Enrollment

25, up from 21

Budget Request

2010-11: $788,704

2009-10: $725,926

Change: +8.6%

Tax Rate

2010-11: $26.54 per $100 of assessed valuation

Current: $25.34 per $100 of assessed valuation

Change: +4.77 %

What’s in it?

Because four high school-aged students recently moved to the district, out-of-district tuition costs were added at the last minute to the proposed budget. The district also plans to hire a teacher trained in special education — an additional position to the existing two teachers — if the budget passes.

Contingency Plan if Budget Fails

Due to the small size of the elementary school, “There is nothing in our budget we can cut” if a contingency budget is adopted, said Superintendent Bob Feger. A contingency budget “would not be significantly different than the proposed budget,” he said.

School Board

One candidate, incumbent Joseph Polashock, is seeking one seat.