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Mattituck looks to hold the line on taxes in 2017-18

Mattituck-Cutchogue school district officials have announced they’re preparing a $40.48 million budget that calls for a minimal increase in next year’s tax levy due to cost-saving measures and declining enrollment.

The district is allowed to raise the tax levy by about 1.32 percent in 2017-18 without piercing the state-mandated cap, Superintendent Anne Smith said during her budget presentation meeting last Thursday night.

However, she said, she’s only increasing the levy by 0.00489 percent in her tentative spending plan, which is about $480,000 below the district’s allowable limit.

If approved by voters, property owners can expect to see their school taxes increase by about $2, the superintendent said.

“Last week, you saw an increase range of about $43 to $53 per household,” Dr. Smith said, referring to the 2016-17 school tax increase. “Now we’re at about $2.”

Three departing staff members — a part-time social worker and a secondary-level English teacher who will retire and a special education teaching assistant leaving the district — won’t be replaced for next year, she said.

The planned cost-saving measures include limiting the amount of new purchases for SmartBoards and audiovisual equipment.

The tentative budget calls for a spending increase of about $148,580, which Dr. Smith said will provide for new programs.

In health and athletics, the district is expected to maintain its 53 sports teams and hopes to make some improvements to its fields, such as preparing for track renovations.

The district plans to offer a new elective in 2017-18 called Introduction to Sports Medicine, athletic director Gregg Wormuth said.

Due to a continued decline in enrollment, the high school will reduce English classes by one section and social studies offerings by half a section. However, additional math sections and new classes — including math support labs, visual languages and biology classes for English as a New Language students — are proposed for next year, high school principal Shawn Petretti said.

Reinstated art and music coordinator positions are also included in the tentative spending plan, he added.

Complete budget presentations are on the district’s website and the board is expected to adopt the budget at their meeting on April 20.

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Photo: Mattituck school district superintendent Anne Smith at Thursday’s meeting. (Credit: Nicole Smith)