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Letter: The Facts

Given all the rhetoric flying around about the proposed Manhasset 2010-2011 School Budget, I decided to arrive at my own conclusion by researching budget information posted on several similarly ranked neighboring school district web sites. Both Garden City’s and Great Neck’s proposed budgets curtail existing programs. Both districts “rollover” budgets would require a 5 percent to 7 percent increase accompanied by a 7 percent to 8 percent tax levy increase. Great Neck’s proposed budget increase is 2.16 percent with a 2.89 percent increase in tax levy while Garden City’s figures are 3.21 percent and 4.52 percent respectively. Both of these school districts anticipate flat or slightly decreased enrollments next year. Manhasset’s enrollment will increase 2 percent.

Jericho is proposing a 3.5 percent “rollover” budget with a tax levy increase of 3.92 percent while anticipating greater than a 2 percent reduction in enrollment. Compare that to Manhasset’s proposed 2.98 percent budget increase and tax levy of 1.23 percent; Jericho’s tax levy increase is more than three times Manhasset’s. Additionally, Jericho’s 2009-2010 budget and tax levy increases of 3.77 percent and 3.92 percent were multiples of Manhasset’s .87 percent and .45 percent.

Every district web site I reviewed cited increased required contributions to retirement systems, contractually mandated salary step ups, MTA payroll tax and reductions in state aid as major drivers of proposed school budget and tax levy increases.

When taking into account the comparative numbers from surrounding school districts, I believe that Superintendent Cardillo and his staff have done an exceptional job in proposing a “rollover” budget that maintains opportunities for students while minimizing the impact on the Manhasset taxpayers.

Nancy C. Gardner