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Greenport Schools to keep budget within tax cap this time around

03/30/2019 5:55 AM |

One year after asking voters to pierce the tax increase cap for the third time, the Greenport School District has announced a proposed budget for 2019-20 that will stay under the cap. 

In May 2012, Greenport became the first local school district to propose piercing the tax cap. Earlier this month, however, the district unveiled a roughly $19.4 million budget for the upcoming school year that maintains both programs and staff.

The proposed tax levy is $15.3 million, an increase of 2.85 percent over a year ago. The allowable tax levy increase is also 2.85 percent, compared to last year’s 2.6 percent.

Greenport Superintendent David Gamberg said the main objective in preparing next year’s budget was to stay under the tax levy maximum.

“We had to do everything we could in order to make sure that any increases would be kept low, and that we preserved the programs,” he said Monday at a school board meeting.

The budget is driven by employee salaries, which total $9.1 million, and employee benefits, which total $5.5 million.

Mr. Gamberg said the district has added staff since he came to the district and he aims to maintain them next year.

The district will see increases in all spending areas: transportation costs will rise by 1.03 percent, BOCES costs by 15.7 percent, debt service by 2.35 percent, special education costs by a half-percent and equipment costs by 7.65 percent. Other expenses, which total $1.8 million, will increase by 1.58 percent compared to last year.

A minor increase in state aid is anticipated, bringing in $1.5 million for the district, which amounts to a boost of only .38 percent. Foundation Aid from the state will rise by $2,960 and federal aid will remain at $5,000.

Income from tuition — funding paid by the Oysterponds School District for its students who move on to Greenport — will reach $1.4 million next year, and services shared between Greenport and the Southold school districts will save $225,000 for Greenport. Cumulative savings for shared services total $1.3 million thus far, district officials said.

Additional income, fund balances and use of funds from the Capital Reserve will provide the district with $19 million in revenue to offset the cost of the budget.

The district has asked voters to pierce the property tax cap three times since it was enacted in 2011. In 2016, voters approved an 8.52 percent increase in the levy, amounting to about a $1 million increase.

Greenport community members will vote on the budget Tuesday, May 21, from 2 to 8 p.m. in the district gymnasium.

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