Greenport School District

Greenport Schools: We may need to pierce 2 percent tax cap

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Greenport administrators say the district may have to pierce the tax cap.

Facing a large increase in special education spending, the Greenport School District may need to exceed the state’s 2 percent tax cap, according to Superintendent Mike Comanda.

In his recently presented tentative budget for the 2012-13 school year, Mr. Comanda projected a need to increase the tax levy by 1.73 percent more than the 2 percent limit. That, he said, would bring in about $197,000 more than what the school could expect to receive under the 2 percent cap.

Mr. Comanda attributes the need to pierce the cap to a special education budget that has swelled by $200,000. In addition, about 23 students have expressed an interest in attending BOCES for vocational training next year, which would cost about $70,000.

This year, 17 students are enrolled in the program. The overall tax increase will also help the district replenish its $100,000 fund balance, he said.

“It will cost taxpayers 21 cents a day,” Mr. Comanda said of the tax cap overage. “The board’s goal was to come in below $200,000 and we’ve achieved that.”

To put a cap-piercing budget before voters in May, at least four of the five school board members must vote yes. And while a simple majority of voters is all that’s needed to adopt a new spending plan, a budget exceeding the tax cap must get at least 60 percent of the vote.

While Mr. Comanda’s spending plan doesn’t include layoffs, it would reduce a librarian’s status from full-time status to part-time and reduce some hours for a computer network technician.

Read more about the Greenport budget in Thursday’s Suffolk Times.

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