School Budget Roundup: What’s on tap for voters Tuesday

05/14/2017 6:00 AM |

With school budget votes only days away, there are a few major developments to keep in mind, especially for taxpayers in the Greenport and New Suffolk districts.

In Greenport, the school board is looking for voter approval to establish a $750,000 capital reserve fund. Should this proposition pass, the capital reserve fund would allow the district to set aside up to $750,000 to be used for specific capital improvements over the next 10 years, the board said in March.

The district would need voter approval before any expenditure from the capital reserve fund, officials said, adding that it would be funded through surplus monies.

“This is a great way to save money now for capital improvements in the future that will reduce the level of borrowing and not increase taxes to make improvements to the school building,” Superintendent David Gamberg said in March.

As for Greenport’s 2017-18 budget, the district is proposing to stay under the tax cap with a tax levy increase of 3.8 percent, or $524,361. The total budget of $18.3 million represents a 1.72 percent increase over the current school year.

In New Suffolk, the Board of Education is asking residents to approve a $1.1 million budget, which attempts to pierce the tax levy cap with a 6.5 percent increase.

The $25,000 spending increase is nearly double the district’s allowable tax increase limit of 3.4 percent, board president Tony Dill said last month.

Since the district is looking to pierce the cap, the budget requires 60 percent voter approval to pass. New Suffolk passed a budget in 2012 that exceeded the state-mandated tax levy cap.

Mr. Dill said six additional students have moved into the district, which made it necessary to pierce the cap. Usually, he said, New Suffolk sees one or two additional students in a school year.

The elementary school district sends its secondary students to Southold High School and four students are expected to enroll there for the next school year, he said.

Additionally, two English Language Learner students have moved into the district, which is paying tuition for them to attend school in Southold because New Suffolk doesn’t have the resources to educate them.

“If we didn’t have to tuition out those two elementary students, we’d save $40,000,” Mr. Dill said. “Teaching those kids in our school as opposed to sending them to Southold Elementary School, we do that and we could not only stay under the cap, but run a bit of a surplus.”

Two teachers in the district are currently being certified to teach non-English-speaking students in an effort to reduce future tuition costs, Mr. Dill said.

All three remaining local school districts are proposing budgets under their tax caps and none is seeking any additional referendums.

The Mattituck-Cutchogue School District is proposing a $40.7 million budget with a tax levy increase of 0.0167 percent. The Southold School District put forth a $29.4 million budget with a tax levy increase of 1.52 percent. In the Oysterponds School District, residents will vote on a $5.7 million budget that carries a 0.48 percent tax levy increase.

Additionally, there are no contested races for Board of Education seats. Incumbents are running for every open seat.

Here’s a look at the ballot for each local school district. Check back Tuesday night for complete coverage.

Mattituck-Cutchogue School District

Current budget: $40,333,921

Proposed budget: $40,765,316

Estimated tax levy increase: 0.0167%

Two open seats, two candidates: Charles Anderson and Brian Mealy

Polling takes place Tuesday, May 16, from 3 to 9 p.m. in the high school gym

New Suffolk Common School District

Current budget: $1,269,085.76

Proposed budget: $1,110,701.32

Estimated tax levy increase: 6.5%

One open seat, one candidate: Tony Dill

Polling takes place Tuesday, May 16, from 3 to 9 p.m. at the school

Southold School District

Current budget: $29,008,500

Proposed budget: $29,440,000

Estimated tax levy increase: 1.52%

Two open seats, two candidates: Scott Latham and Brian Tobin

Polling takes place Tuesday, May 16, from 3 to 9 p.m. in the high school gym

Greenport School District

Current budget: $17,930,820

Proposed budget: $18,365,500

Estimated tax levy increase: 3.8%

Referendum: Establish a $750,000 capital reserve fund

One open seat, one candidate: Kirsten Droskoski

Polling takes place Tuesday, May 16, from 2 to 8 p.m. in the school gym

Oysterponds School District

Current budget: $5,680,052

Proposed budget: $5,704,425

Estimated tax levy increase: 0.48%

Two open seats, two candidates: Janice Caufield and Jeffrey Demarest

Polling takes place Tuesday, May 16, from 2 to 8 p.m. in the all-purpose room.

[email protected]

File photo: Students pour soil into the new garden beds at Greenport schools during the groundbreaking ceremony in November. (Credit: Krysten Massa)

Comments

comments