Update: Southold school board adopts $28.8M budget

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04/23/2014 9:00 PM |
Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg, right, and school board president Paulette Ofrias at a school board meeting earlier this year. The state released Wednesday an audit of the district's finances.

Southold School District Superintendent David Gamberg, right, and school board president Paulette Ofrias at a budget meeting last year. (Credit: Jennifer Gustavson, file)

The Southold school board adopted Superintendent David Gamberg’s proposed $28.8 million budget on Wednesday night.

The proposal is under the state-mandated allowable tax levy rate of 1.83 percent, or $756,660, which represents the increased amount the school can collect from property taxes with a simple majority vote.

Scroll down for more details and to view a copy of the spending plan. Check back to suffolktimes.com as your source for complete budget and school board election coverage.

ORIGINAL STORY

The Southold school board is set to adopt Superintendent David Gamberg’s proposed $28.8 million budget on Wednesday night that carries a nearly 2.7 percent spending increase.

Mr. Gamberg said his tentative 2014-15 budget is under the state-mandated allowable tax levy rate of 1.83 percent, or $756,660, which represents the increased amount the school can collect from property taxes with a simple majority vote.

He said next year’s expenditures include about $14.3 million for salaries, which represents a 4.6 percent increase over the current school year, and $7.8 million for benefits — a nearly 9.7 percent hike.

The proposed spending plan maintains current student programing and services, the superintendent said, and includes hiring an athletic trainer.

Shared-services, transportation, and refinancing debt are among the reductions Mr. Gamberg attributed to preparing a budget under the tax cap.

He said both districts are in the process of finalizing a shared-superintendent contract in which he’ll serve as superintendent for both districts over the next two school years. The tentative agreement was reached after Greenport Superintendent Michael Comanda announced he’ll retire this summer.

Southold’s transportation costs are expected to decrease by 10.3 percent, or $122,861, Mr. Gamberg said, as a result of a recent district-wide survey that determined the most efficient bus routes. He estimates transportation expenses will total about $1 million next year.

The district is also in the process of refinancing a bond issued in 2005.

Munistat Services, the consultant handling the district’s refinancing, has said the outstanding principal amount on the bond is about $4.1 million.

On April 11, Moody’s assigned the district a bond credit rating of Aa2, a designation the financial company considers “very strong.”

Southold’s 2014-15 budget adoption is scheduled for the school board’s regular meeting on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the high school auditorium.

Southold School District draft budget, April 2014

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