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Citizens Advisory Committee On Legislative Affairs (CACLA)

Friday, 05 April 2013 00:00

This is the third in a series of articles from CACLA, in which we discuss the subject of unfunded mandates and how they impact the Manhasset Public School District. It is this committee’s goal to educate the community on this subject matter in particular, as it has significant current and long-term ramifications.

Special Education – Minimally Funded Mandates

An unfunded mandate is a statute or regulation (coming from the state or federal government) that requires, in this case, a local public school district to fulfill the requirements of the mandate without adequate funding. The dollar expense of the unfunded mandate must come from the only revenue source a public school district has, i.e., the property taxes each resident is required to pay.

 

Letter: Vote ‘No’ On School Budget

Friday, 05 April 2013 00:00

Most surrounding districts will present budgets within their allotted tax caps of approximately 2 percent but the Manhasset School District has presented a budget that will raise our school tax levy 8.8 percent and without a pledge to meet the tax cap in the future, we can expect a similar increase next year.  The superintendent has cited numerous causes for this sorry situation; increased pension costs, less state aid, mandates, Federal sequester and increased enrollment. Since pension costs, state aid, mandates and the Federal sequester are common to all districts and most will not pierce their cap, the only cause cited that is unique to Manhasset is increased enrollment.

A careful look at the Manhasset enrollment statistics is warranted. Actual and projected enrollment between 2007 and 2016 averages 16 more students per year. With proper leadership and planning, 16 students could have easily been accommodated in a student body of approximately 3000 without resorting to massive tax increases. This year, 2013, enrollment will actually begin to decline by 26 students and is projected to continue to decline through 2016, and yet, this year, the district added over 11 new staff members.  Personnel costs continue to account for over 75 percent of the school budget.

 

Letter: Manhasset Schools Support Home Values

Friday, 05 April 2013 00:00

Home buyers with children have always known the critical role that quality of schools play in the decision on where to live. Correspondingly, current Manhasset homeowners–with or without school age children–should appreciate the correlation between the performance of our local schools and our property values. It comes down to basic arithmetic: good schools equal higher home values.

Common sense dictates that communities served by superior schools will be less likely to experience erosion of property values over the long term. Just take a moment to think of thriving communities in Nassau County vs. those that are languishing. What do they all have in common? The quality of their schools.

 

Letter: Correcting Misinformation

Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00

Do not assume that voting down the school budget guarantees your property taxes will be capped at 2 percent. New York State’s Tax levy “cap” calculation, which is based on a complex 8-step formula, will not, necessarily, keep local property taxes in check.

Legislator Wayne Wink, a Democrat from Roslyn, said it best when he said, “What people perceived as a tax cap that was going to limit their increase to 2 percent does anything but.” (http://newyork.cbslocal. com/2012/10/05/exclusive-shocking-school-tax-hikes-hit-nassau-county/) How can this be? Because, inclusive of the property tax rate and property tax levy, there are multiple factors that are used to determine a resident’s property tax bill.

 

Letter: ‘Supermajority’ Budget Vote (March 22 issue)

Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00

Perspective is everything. This publication underscored with great emphasis Superintendent Cardillo’s viewpoint that a “supermajority” vote for a previously defeated budget means that 1,601 Manhasset residents voting in opposition could defeat a budget and compel a zero percent tax increase.

I disagree, and offer this alternative point of view. Adopting without argument the superintendent’s proffered members, a failure to achieve the supermajority means that the school authorities failed to convince an additional 798 voters that the subject budget and concomitant tax increase was worthy of their approval. This perspective is equally accurate and logical. Moreover, 798 votes is a lot of votes, especially in a community of our size.

 

Manhasset Schools Update: March 29, 2013

Written by Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Charles Cardillo Friday, 29 March 2013 00:00

Challenge Of A Supermajority Vote

Requiring a supermajority vote is punitive…if 4000 people vote and 2,399 vote “yes” while only 1601 vote “no” the budget would be defeated…Where’s the outrage?

Because the preliminary working budget requires a tax levy greater than the levy allowed under the tax levy cap legislation, the budget requires a supermajority vote of 60 percent in order to pass.

 

Citizens Advisory Committee On Legislative Affairs

Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00

This is the second in a series of articles from the Citizens Advisory Committee On Legislative Affairs (CACLA), in which we discuss the subject of unfunded mandates and how they impact the Manhasset Public School District. It is this committee’s goal to educate the community on this subject matter in particular, as it has significant current and long-term ramifications.

Manhasset School District’s Employees’ Pensions:

Another Unfunded Mandate

An unfunded mandate is a statute or regulation (coming from the state or federal government) that requires, in this case, a local public school district to fulfill the requirements of the mandate without adequate funding.  The dollar expense of the unfunded mandate must come from the only revenue source a public school district has, i.e., the property taxes each resident is required to pay.   

 

Letter: I Am Scared

Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00

On the evening of March 11, Superintendent Charlie Cardillo gave a 2013-2014 preliminary working school budget presentation that directly addressed the issue of what it would mean to the school district if the school budget failed twice.  

According to Mr. Cardillo, if the budget is defeated twice by voters the tax levy increase must be set at 0 percent which translates into a required $6.8 million reduction from the proposed school budget.

 

Manhasset Schools Update: March 22, 2013

Written by Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Charles Cardillo Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00

The Challenge Of A Supermajority Vote

Because the preliminary working budget requires a tax levy greater than the levy allowed under the tax levy cap legislation, the budget requires a supermajority vote of 60 percent in order to pass.

Simply put, two failed votes mandate that the tax levy increase is set at 0 percent.  This means the district must reduce the budget and levy by $6,832,380. This reduction results in a 2013-14 budget of $85,362,624, which is $1,706,800 less than the current 2012-13 budget.

 

Manhasset Schools Update: March 5, 2013

Written by Manhasset Superintendent of Schools Charles Cardillo Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00

At the Saturday, March 2 Manhasset Board of Education budget work session, the audience was asked to consider the following question: If back in May 2008, you were informed by the board that the community would be guaranteed a five year average budget-to-budget increase of 2.53 percent and average tax levy increase of 3.11 percent, would you have supported such a resolution?  Several community members seated in the audience responded, “I would sign on the dotted line,” and “I am all in,” suggesting that these increases, as an average, support the maintenance of the “4A’s” – Academics, Arts, Athletics and Activities  - in Manhasset and are a reasonable expectation for continued excellence in our schools.

Here we are, five years later. Including the preliminary working budget for 2013-14, the board has delivered on this five-year average during incredibly challenging economic times. For those of you who were unable to make the well-attended budget work session, you should be aware that the school district is confronted with the reduction of $6,832,380 from the superintendent’s preliminary working budget and tax levy if the budget does not pass on Tuesday, May 21, or on a second vote which would follow several weeks later.  Quite simply, such a reduction would mean a drastic change in what the Manhasset community has historically cherished in its K-12 educational programs, including a significant adverse impact on the current structure of the “4 A’s.”  You may wonder, “How did we get to this point?”  The following provides a summary of the historical and financial circumstances that have led us to this critical moment for our schools.

 

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