Mattituck school officials are allowed to raise taxes .46 percent next year without piercing the two percent tax cap, which translates into only a $7 to $9 annual increase for taxpayers.
But it looks like district residents won’t even be paying that much more under the current budget proposal.
Currently, the district is planning on raising taxes only .41 percent — which is $20,231 less than the .46 percent permitted under state law — Dr. Anne Smith, superintendent of the district, said during a budget workshop Thursday night.
Next year’s budget currently comes in just under $40.3 million, which is $635,000 less than it is spending during the current school year. Much of this comes from decreased payments in retirement and to Board of Cooperative Educational Services, as well as a dip in the district’s debt service.
“We believe that this budget continues to support our efforts with professional development, both in terms with our work with BOCES and our consultants and with the capacity building we’ve had in place for a few years now in building teacher leadership,” the superintendent said. “So I want you to know that we have preserved those things and we will continue to support them as we go forward.”
Some of the changes this year include adding different electives (such as “film as literature” and “historical impact of athletics”) and expanding on programs at both the elementary and high school levels (adding a second environmental science class and expanding a garden at the elementary school, for example), she said. As the district’s enrollment continues to decline, it has allowed for the condensing of schedules and introduction of new programs, high school principal Shawn Petretti said.
The district had 1,287 students enrolled last school year and 1,219 students enrolled this year. Officials project that there will be 1,160 students next year.
Additionally, the district is planning to purchase more automated external defibrillators, hire a part-time physical trainer, increase mental health initiatives, upgrade computer software, add security cameras and a visitor management system and more.
The school board has scheduled another budget workshop at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 24 before its regular 7:30 p.m. meeting.
Photo Caption: Cutchogue East Elementary School principal Kathy Devine discusses the proposed changes at the school under the 2016-2017 budget. (Credit: Nicole Smith)