On April 17, the Massapequa Board of Education unanimously adopted the proposed school budget for the 2008-09 school year.
The budget calls for a 6.26 percent increase and a tax levy increase of 5.44 percent. Residents ages 18 and over who are registered to vote are urged to vote on Tuesday, May 20.
Total spending for the proposed budget is $166,369,911. The total tax levy is $135,925,774. According to school officials, district enrollment has remained remarkably steady, standing at 8,230, only up one student from the 8,229 in the 2007-08 school year.
The district's estimated 2008-09 reserved fund balance is $11,925,451, down from the $12,250,451 in last year's budget. The unreserved fund balance in the proposed budget stands at $3,396,278, up from the $3,146,278 that was in the 2007-08 document.
On Thursday, May 8, the BOE will hold a budget hearing. Thursday, May 15 is the last day for voter registration. A voter registration day will be held on Tuesday, May 13 from 4 to 8 p.m. at McKenna, Lockhart, and Fairfield Elementary Schools and at Massapequa High School. Applications for absentee ballots are available through the Office of the District Clerk.
The BOE vote culminates months of budget discussion meetings. Over the past three months, the BOE has considered the various aspects of the proposed budget including General Support, Transportation, Employee Benefits, Community Services, Debt Service, Instruction, Revenue, and the estimated Tax Levy.
During the course of those deliberations, school district officials listed the district's goals as:
• Maintaining the appropriate class size
• Completing expansion of schoolwide enrichment
• Reducing taxes by petitioning Albany for fair share of State Aid
• Improving handicapped accessibility in school buildings
• Improving security in school buildings
• Strengthening community communications
• Keeping facilities well maintained to provide a "positive learning environment" for children.
School officials also noted that the average school taxes in Massapequa are $5,128, itself $733 less than the average Nassau County taxes of $5,861. Spending increases for the district from 1990-91 to the 2005-06 school year, school officials added, average out to 9.85 percent, less than the county average of 11.69 percent and the New York State average of 34.34 percent. Meanwhile, state aid increases per pupil in that same period have decreased in Massapequa by 16.92 percent, while increasing in Nassau County by 23.52 percent and in New York State by a whopping 75.22 percent.
The May 20 vote will take place from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Voting locations are: Massapequa High School, Fairfield Elementary School, Lockhart Elementary School, and McKenna Elementary School.