04/16/2015 10:21 PM

The Mattituck school board has adopted a $40.2 million budget carrying a 1.73 percent increase to next year’s tax levy.

Under the state-mandated tax cap, the district could have presented a budget carrying a 2.4 percent increase in the tax levy without needing 60 percent voter approval.

Superintendent Anne Smith said the proposed 2015-16 budget reflects a $159,000 spending increase to maintain current programs and cover a technology infrastructure improvement project, among other expenses.

Due to an estimated decrease in pension costs, coupled with an increase in state aid, Dr. Smith said the district plans to complete long-awaited projects like fixing the roof at Laurel Annex.

The school board unanimously adopted the budget without discussion at Thursday’s meeting. School board president Jerry Diffley and trustee Jeff Smith were absent.

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04/09/15 10:00am
04/09/2015 10:00 AM

Thumbs upFARMLAND PRESERVATION

A big thumbs up to the state’s decision to give its Farmland Protection Program a $35 million boost, bringing the program’s budget up to $177 million for 2015-16. Like repairs to roads, bridges and other infrastructure, preserving farms is a sound investment — and much less speculative than pricey economic development “pet” projects. The farmland program, which was understandably slashed in half during the recession in 2008, is now back to full health and monies will continue to be available for towns to use to protect farms. Although most of the money will go upstate, it’s in the interest of agricultural communities statewide to remain healthy, forward-thinking and, most of all, intact for generations down the road.

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04/09/15 9:00am

In a big boost to a statewide program aimed at protecting farmland, the budget that passed last week in Albany has allocated more money than ever before to the initiative, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The 2015-16 state budget added $35 million more for the Farmland Protection Program, a number that, according to the American Farmland Trust, places New York in the top five among states capitals setting money aside for farmland protection.

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04/09/15 8:00am
(Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

(Credit: Katharine Schroeder, file)

“They couldn’t have made a worse decision than what we have in our hands right now.”

For someone who has been a vocal critic of New York State’s public education system’s high-stakes testing model, which has been enacted for the past few years, Greenport and Southold Superintendent David Gamberg’s comments Tuesday about next year’s state education budget came as especially critical.

While the budget adopted April 1 increases education funding by over 6 percent statewide, it has been met with heavy pushback from educators near and far as Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues attempting to overhaul education accountability throughout the state. (more…)