On May 17, voters in the Locust Valley Central School District defeated the proposed school district budget. After receiving valuable feedback from residents through several community meetings and a survey on the district's website, on June 1 the board of education adopted a revised budget. The reduced budget of $57,344,648 is $335,000 less than the budget put before the voters on May 17. The budget now represents a 5.81percent increase over last year's budget resulting in a 5.89 percent tax levy increase.
While the original budget was educationally sound and fiscally responsible the board of education listened to the taxpayers' concerns and reduced the budget while maintaining the integrity of the educational program. The proposed budget increase is below the average for all Nassau County school districts. The Locust Valley School District has the sixth lowest Class 1 residential tax rate and the second lowest average tax rate for all classes of property of all school districts in Nassau County.
State law provides that, if a public school budget is defeated, a district may choose to put the same budget or a revised budget up for a second - and final - vote. After receiving valuable feedback and carefully reviewing the originally proposed budget, the board made reductions primarily in administrative areas. Every effort was made to provide direct student support services and to ensure we maintain the quality of our educational and extracurricular programs.
The revised budget for 2005-2006 includes a total of $335,000 in reductions that seek to minimize the impact on our children. Some specific reductions include the delay of filling the open director of educational technology position, reductions in planned administrative and teacher conferences, staff and curriculum development, reduced administrative time for district academic coordinators, and reduced staff replacement costs.
If this proposal is defeated on June 15, the district will pass the control of its school budget to the state. As mandated by law, an additional $1.9 million will need to be cut from the budget to meet contingency/austerity budget requirements. This would have serious negative consequences for our educational program and our students. The cutbacks cannot be made up in one year, and will create considerable tax increases in future years to make up that deficit in educational programs. In addition, a reduction of this magnitude would have a serious long-term impact on our ability to maintain current academic programs and class sizes, co-curricular and athletic activities.
I believe the reductions made in the budget achieve a balance between sustaining the core value of our educational program and reducing the tax burden on our residents. The budget revote will be held on Wednesday, June 15 from noon until 10 p.m. at the district's three polling locations. I urge every resident to come out and cast an informed vote. More information is available on the district's website at http://www.lvcsd.k12.ny.us. Residents with any questions may contact my office at 674-6310.
Dr. Anthony L. Singe
Superintendent of Schools