Four layoffs, 2.5 percent tax levy increase proposed at Oysterponds

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Oysterponds Superintendent Joan Frisicano presented her tentative budget Tuesday night.

Oysterponds Superintendent Joan Frisicano announced Tuesday night that four positions — mainly in the special education program — have been eliminated in her tentative 2012 – 13 spending plan due to dwindling enrollment.

During an Oysterponds budget workshop in Orient, about 50 people listened as Ms. Frisicano explained why a special education director, special education teacher, a special education teacher assistant and a librarian will be laid off next year.

“The numbers are declining,” Ms. Frisicano said of student enrollment in the elementary district. “We had to make some decisions and that was one that was made.”

Ms. Frisicano said she and principal Francoise Wittenburg will take over the special education director’s responsibilities, including overseeing the district’s special education program and attending special education committee meetings at neighboring districts and at BOCES.

Ms. Frisicano’s proposed $5.4 million spending plan includes an estimated 2.5 percent increase to the tax levy. The district will raise $121,616 more in taxes over the current year.

Oysterponds is allowed to go over the state’s newly mandated 2 percent cap on the tax levy to pay for certain expenses, such as employee health insurance and pensions. Those types of expenses make up most of the .5 percent overage of the tax cap.

But there are still many expenses, which stem largely from the district’s secondary school contract negotiations, that haven’t been worked out.

Last week, the board announced it has submitted secondary school contract proposals to both the Mattituck and Greenport school districts. Oysterponds is expected to designate its secondary school — or schools — during a special meeting April 2.

Read more about the budget in Thursday’s paper.

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