Southold Schools adopts $27M spending plan for 2012-13

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | The Southold Board of Education adopted a $27 million proposed spending plan Thursday.

The Southold School District is planning to put a $27 million budget before voters May 15, up 2.93 percent from this year’s budget.

The tax levy increase will also be 2.93 percent, though the actual tax rate that homeowners will pay has not been determined, said district officials at a budget workshop Wednesday.

The school board plans to hold a special meeting April 17 at 6:15 p.m. to adopt the budget.

The proposed budget increase does not pierce the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, said Superintendent David Gamberg, because of several exemptions to the cap that the district is eligible for.

Mr. Gamberg said the district could have proposed an increase of up to 3.11 percent without piercing the cap, but decided to hold the line at 2.93 percent. Next year’s spending would be about $770,000 more than last year.

Mr. Gamberg said the district plans to not replace teaching positions equivalent a total of 1.7 full-time positions when current teachers retire at the end of this year, for a cost savings of about $335,000.

He added that the budget only includes extracurricular funding for a musical play. Nine thousand dollars for a dramatic production has been pulled.

School board members were concerned by the cancelled play.

“I am very, very disappointed,” said board member Judi Fouchet, who added that she would like the district to evaluate the student participation in other clubs.

“If I had my druthers, we’d have four plays,” said Mr. Gamberg, adding that they provide a unique opportunity for teamwork and student participation. “I’m not disagreeing with you.”

Mr. Gamberg added that, while the $9,000 might be a small amount of money, “we’re reaching a critical mass where the little thins will not get us to where we need to get to” in terms of coming in under the tax cap.