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Greenport School District outlines $21.5M budget that would increase funding for special education

Greenport Union Free School District’s tax cap will increase by over $519,000 under the proposed 2022-2023 budget, according to Phil Kenter, the district’s business official.

The tax levy cap will rise 3.22% to $16.6 million, compared to last year’s 2.03% at $16 million, according to a presentation at last Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting.

“The reason for that is … Greenport’s had the highest growth factor in Suffolk County for real estate sales, new construction and renovations,” Mr. Kenter said.

The total budget will increase by 5.3% to $21.5 million. 

The presentation last Tuesday covered curriculum and instruction, staffing analysis, other programs and co-curriculars.

The proposed revenue budget is projected to increase 5.13% to $21.1 million.

The presentation was separated into categories including general support, transportation, operations and maintenance, employee benefits and debt service/transfers. 

The biggest budget driver was employee benefits, which would rise from $5.8 million to $6.1 million, under the proposed budget.

Tuesday’s presentation included 10 categories: central administration, attendance support and guidance, and more. In those categories, the largest increases are instruction technology and special education. 

Instruction technology is proposed to rise 32.56% to $293,312 from $221,268 last year. 

The funding for students with disabilities or special education is projected to go up 13.89%, increasing from $3.1 million to $3.6 million.

“Students with disabilities is the one area in our budget where we’ll be seeing a significant increase next year,” Mr. Kenter said. “That’s probably our biggest driver with next year’s budget increase.”

The meeting also included a presentation from elementary school principal Joseph Tsaveras and high school principal Gary Kalish, which covered the curriculum instruction programs that would be covered under the proposed budget.

Mr. Kenter emphasized that the budget is still “a work in progress.”

An upcoming budget presentations will be held March 22. Mr. Kenter will present an update on the expenses and revenues. 

The board is expected to adopt the budget April 12. A budget hearing will be held May 10 and the budget vote will be May 17.