Voting on the Hicksville School District's proposed 2009-2010 spending plan will take place Tuesday, May 19. At this time, residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote for or against the following propositions:
Proposition #1, which is broken down into six components, pertains to the district's $110,943,748 spending plan, a proposed budget-to-budget increase of $2.32 percent - an additional $2,515,788 over the current year's spending plan of $108,427,960.
Costs allotted in Proposition #1 are broken down as follows:
The General Support category includes monies for the district's overall administration, including appropriations for the school board, central administration and the operation and general maintenance of buildings. For 2009-2010, the General Support category accounts for $13,419,188 - a $98,557 increase over the present school year, which is $13,320,631.
The Instruction Support section addresses what the district calls its "major function" instructional programs as well as the salaries of principals, supervisors, teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists, librarians, health service personnel, teaching assistants, and clerical workers and aides. Also included in this section are the costs for instructional supplies, textbooks, district handicapped programs and tuition for BOCES and private schools, guidance, libraries and occupational education. For 2009-2010, the Instruction Support component is $63,938,737 - an increase of $1,418,629 over the $62,520,108 allocated this year.
The Hicksville School District provides transportation for approximately 4,400 students to public and non-public schools in and out of the district as well as for handicapped students and vocational students who attend special schools outside the district. Also included are costs associated with interscholastic sports trips and academic field trips. The Pupil Transportation category of the 2009-2010 budget accounts for $7,679,223, a $218,350 increase over the current year's spending plan of $7,460,873.
In the area of Community Services, which accounts for the census the district distributes and tabulates for residents as well as for senior citizen services, the district has proposed a decrease. Additionally, $50,000 allotted in this area, as in previous years, goes toward Proposition #3 - the Hicksville Gregory Museum. If Proposition #3 passes, the Community Service section of the budget will account for $78,4920, a decrease of $4,000 from this year's spending of $82,492.
This category encompasses all the recreational services funded by the school district, including summer and after-school recreation and youth programs. The Recreational Program section of the budget has decreased significantly. For 2009-2010, the district is proposing the Recreational Program at $199,491, which is $20,699 less than the current year's spending of $220,190.
The Undistributed and Other Debt section includes payment of employee benefits such as retirement, Social Security, health insurance and unemployment insurance, along with interest on borrowing. For the 2009-2010 school year, this area of the budget accounts for $25,628,617, an increase of $804,951 over the current year's total of $24,823,666.
Of the budget's total cost, school officials estimate that about $15.8 would be offset by state aid. As a result, the remainder will be paid through tax dollars, fund balance appropriation and other income sources.
According to the district's newsletter, the proposed 2.32 budget-to-budget increase carries a 1.99 percent tax levy increase; with the 2009-2010 assessed valuation at .25 percent of full value, an average Class 1 homeowner's tax bill will be approximately $4,255 or a $112 increase.
Should the 2009-2010 spending plan be rejected, the district would operate on a contingency budget of $$110,425,206 - $518,542 less than the proposed spending plan. As a result, the austerity budget would translate into a tax levy increase of 1.4 percent - as opposed to 1.99 percent (a difference of .55 percent) for an average tax bill of $4,231 - $24 less than what is proposed through the 2009-2010 spending plan. Operating under an austerity budget would mean the elimination of equipment from administration, program (computers, technology program, athletics, science, schools, etc.) and capital/facilities. General classroom supplies would be reduced by 50 percent and maintenance projects would be health and safety only. Additional reductions to achieve total dollar reduction would be made by the board in the remaining areas of staffing/program and use of fields/extracurricular.
Proposition #2 asks voters to establish a capital reserve fund in the amount of $850,000 for a probable term of three years. Monies would be used to fund reconstruction of a safer and more efficient middle school bus loop and corresponding parking lot, including demolition of existing asphalt parking lots and driveways north of the middle school, repaving of said area with new curbing, sidewalks, drywells, drainage systems, landscaping and related site work as well as architect and project management fees.
If approved, capital projects would be funded by transferring an unexpected $850,000 surplus from the current year's adopted spending plan to the fund at no additional cost to the taxpayer in 2009-2010. The district's board of education and administrators captured the aforementioned funds for Proposition #2 as a result of economies from operating efficiencies and cost savings in certain areas such as insurance.
Proposition #2 is contingent upon voter approval of Proposition #1. Should the proposition fail, the money will be applied to the district reserve funds as well as unreserved balance accounts based upon recommendation from district auditors.
As in previous years, Proposition #3 asked voters to approve the allocation of $50,000 to the Hicksville Gregory Museum for educational services associated with its programs.
Proposition #3 is contingent upon voter approval of Proposition #1.
Voting for the proposed Hicksville School District 2009-2010 spending plan will take place Tuesday, May 19 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the following locations: Burns Avenue (District #1), Dutch Lane (District #6), East Street (District #2), Fork Lane (District #5), Lee Avenue (District #4), Old Country Road (District #7) and Woodland Schools (District #3).
Qualified voters must be citizens of the United States, a resident of the district for a period of 30 days prior to the May 19 vote, 18 years of age or older and have voted in a general election in the last four years or currently registered with the school district.
Applications for absentee ballots can be obtained at the District Clerk's Office, 200 Division Avenue, any school day between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Completed applications must be received at least seven days prior to the election if the ballot is mailed; All absentee ballots must be returned no later than 5 p.m. on the day of the vote.