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Farmingdale Proposes a Budget Decrease For the 2011-2012 School Year

In the midst of this difficult budget season, the Farmingdale School District has proposed a budget decrease of $1,075,886 for the 2011-2012 school year. This represents a 2.96 percent tax levy increase. The dire circumstances that face this state’s economy have forced the district to make program cuts to accommodate these fiscal challenges.

In order to make up for a significant loss of state aid, the district is utilizing funding from fund balance and reserves to sustain programs and deliver a predictable and acceptable tax levy. These decisions are being recommended to manage reductions in curriculum and programs that the students and parents of the Farmingdale School District value.

Farmingdale’s Board of Education and Central Administrators have reviewed all options to maintain the district’s expected standard of excellence. The decrease from last year’s budget is made possible through a reduction of staff and salaries, and limiting contractual services and capital improvements, among other cuts. Districtwide reductions, such as after-school clubs and an increase in class size for certain sections will be determined based on enrollment and student interest in the upcoming months.

In addition to drastic cuts to education aid, the district is also financially burdened by unfunded mandates and several fees imposed upon school districts by New York State and Nassau County. Mid-year reductions to state aid and STAR along with a Nassau County annual sewer tax have accelerated the number of reductions necessary to balance the 2011/12 budget.

Further, if passed, the governor’s proposed 2 percent tax cap will severely limit the district’s resources. With the tax cap, funding and programs will be regulated on the state level, and local control will be lost. A tax cap will inevitably lead to drastic reductions for future years. This tax cap will not repair the fundamental issues facing the state but rather remove local taxpayers’ authority to make decisions on the annual budget.

The Board of Education will continue to hold budget meetings from now until the budget vote, which will take place on Tuesday, May 17. Community members are encouraged to attend to receive information on the issues that face the district. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.farmingdaleschools.org.