The Greenport Board of Education is expected to adopt Superintendent Michael Comanda’s tentative $15.5 million budget proposal at tonight’s school board meeting at 7 p.m.
The proposed budget represents a roughly 3.75 percent spending increase from this year’s plan. It doesn’t include layoffs and preserves classroom and extracurricular programs, Mr. Comanda said during a budget workshop last Wednesday.
While a state law passed in 2011 caps year-to-year increases in the tax levy — the total amount the district collects from taxpayers — at 2 percent, the district is allowed to exceed the mandate because some expenses, such as pensions and capital costs, are exempt.
By calculating in those exemptions, Mr. Comanda said Greenport is allowed to raise the tax levy by as much as 4.9 percent without needing to obtain 60 percent voter approval, however, he said he plans to present a budget “under the allowable levy.” Mr. Comanda is expected to disclose the estimated increase to next year’s tax levy tonight.
“We know we’re under the cap and we know what our budget to budget is going to be,” he told the school board. “That’s just really the word we want to get out to everybody because we exceeded the cap last year and we asked a lot … This is just a solid budget to give back to the community.”
The district was successful in gaining a supermajority approval from the public at last year’s school budget vote to pierce the cap above the 5.04 percent allowable rate. That $14.9 million spending plan carried a 6.86 percent hike to the tax levy.
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