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BOE Approves Budget for May Vote

Spending, Tax Increases Kept at Under Three Percent

The Massapequa School Board has approved a $176,172,498 budget for the 2010-2011 school year. Voters in the school district will vote on the budget at the May 18 election. In addition to the budget vote, residents will vote to elect one trustee to the Board of Education. An incumbent BOE member, Timothy Taylor, will be the only candidate on the ballot.

The budget, school officials said, represents a 2.60 percent increase over last year’s budget of $171,715,173. The tax levy, they added, represents a 2.48 increase over last year’s rates. This amounts to an estimated tax increase of $13 per month for the average Massapequa household.

In the proposed budget itself, most departments saw small increases. However, there are some reductions. The Community Services section would decrease from $585,175 to $531,238, while the Debt Service would decrease from $7,783,971 to $7,680,066. In addition, the Business Administrative-Finance segment would decrease from $1,172,266 to $1,234,439.

While formulating the budget, school district officials noted that they had to deal with negative impact the proposed state budget would have on Massapequa’s own budget. For instance, mandated retirement costs would increase by $2.5 million, while the state aid cut could amount to $3,260,692. Unfunded mandates amount to nearly $17 million, with the bulk of that coming from the New York State Retirement System ($8.701 million) and Pupil Transportation ($5.457 million).

In promoting the budget, school officials claim that they are managing to keep tax increases to a minimum by utilizing the use of Fund Balances and Reserves, the rental of two buildings, and by receiving an Administrative Efficiency Award. Those savings amount to $4.884 million.

In addition, spending increases, school district officials said, are being kept down by similar cost-saving measures. Over the past five years, the district, school officials added, has saved over $7 million, including those from Interest Savings on Tax Anticipation Note Borrowing ($2.647 million), Utilities Savings From Energy Performance Contracts ($2.677 million), and Savings on Cooperative Purchasing and Bidding ($936,000).

In all, the district is utilizing approximately $3.1 million of its own fund balance and reserve accounts to offset state aid cuts. Finally, all this is happening without having to eliminate any instructional programs.

Voting on the budget will take place on Tuesday, May 18, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Massapequa High School, 4925 Merrick Road.

In order to vote, one must be a U.S. citizen; at least 18 years of age; and a resident of the school district for a period of at least 30 days prior to May 18. Absentee ballots are due by 5 p.m. on the day of the vote.