The Island Trees Board of Education voted on Tuesday to adopt a budget proposal of $31,917,798, which represents a 5.27 percent increase over last year's budget. This budget will be voted upon by taxpayers on May 18.
According to Superintendent Richard Segerdahl, the majority of the increase comes from the addition of 18 new teachers. Twelve of these teachers are needed for the new nine period day in the middle and high schools that the board approved in December.
Segerdahl stated, "We're all pleased with the types of courses the kids are taking now that they are registered for the nine period day. There's more and more academics going on and hopefully that's going to help more children with the new expectation of passing five Regents exams."
Teachers are also being added in grades 1, 2, 4, and 5 to keep class sizes down. For the start of the 1999-2000 school year the district is expecting 61 additional students, making the new teachers necessary. Two new special education teachers have also been added.
The second part of the increase in the budget, according to Segerdahl, is the Capital Improvement Program. A new science lab is being built in the high school and the high school band room is being expanded. The estimated costs of these improvements is $430,000. The capital improvements are a reimbursable cost but the district will not see this reimbursement from the state until the following year.
Island Trees is actually receiving less state aid in the governor's budget proposal and have also had to make up that money with this new budget. The current projections have Island Trees receiving $334,027 less in state aid. This number may change when the state budget is approved.
Island Trees has consistently kept their costs as low as possible. Between 1990 and 1997 Nassau County has increased their expenditures 39 percent, New York State has increased their expenditures 37 percent, upstate schools have increased expenditures 43 percent, Nassau County Schools have gone up 32 percent, and the consumer price index has gone up 27 percent while Island Trees has kept their increase down to 17 percent. They have also maintained a record of returning to the taxpayers a budget less than the one approved at the May Budget vote, which they have done for the past eight years.
At the budget adoption meeting the board also passed a resolution to adopt a BOCES Administrative Budget of $11,365,758. BOCES Aid to local school district is another area which is cut in the governor's budget proposal. In the current proposal BOCES aid is cut by 25 percent for the 1999-2000 school year and is scheduled to be cut entirely by 2000-01, which represents a loss of approximately $350,000 to Island Trees.
Despite all the added programs and cuts in aid, the Island Trees School District does not expect a school tax increase for a homeowner with a house assessed at $5,000, because of the STAR reduction. For a homeowner with a house assessed at $5,000 the $3.21 per 100 assessed value would equal and increase of $160, which would be offset by an estimated STAR reduction of $250. According to the Island Trees District Newsletter this, "Equals an estimated tax reduction of $90.
A Budget Hearing will be held on May 11 at the Stokes School Cafeteria and the Budget vote will be held on May 18.