Greenport School District Superintendent Michael Comanda has halted plans to place a referendum on the May budget vote ballot to fund pre-K and is adding the new program into his 2014-15 budget proposal instead.
During a school board budget workshop Wednesday, Mr. Comanda said the decision was based on community input to fund the proposed $140,000 pre-K program through the district’s general fund as opposed to the referendum.
The district is preparing to transform two rooms into new pre-K classrooms, he said.
In addition to the pre-K program, Mr. Comanda said his budget maintains all current programs for students and extra curricular activities. Two new high school courses have also been added for next school year: art portfolio and integrated science, he said.
School district officials said exemptions approved by the state allows a tax levy increase of up to 2.8 percent without having to obtain a supermajority vote from residents.
Mr. Comanda said the district is looking to close a $70,000 budget gap over the allowable tax levy since his administration and the school board are committed to preparing a budget without piercing the state-mandated tax cap.
If the district isn’t awarded additional state aid in the Legislature’s final budget due April 1, then Mr. Comanda said he’ll look at reducing expenditures in all departments districtwide as opposed to cutting programs.
Greenport’s current budget totals about $15.5 million, officials said. The district is expected to release next year’s projected total spending plan at a future school board meeting.