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Mineola SD Adopts 2011-2012 Budget

Tax Levy Set at 2.37 Percent

The Mineola School District adopted its 2011-2012 district budget at its last meeting on April 7 at the Willis Avenue School. The proposed budget for the next school year is $84,221,638 with a budget-to-budget increase of $4,093,065 (5.11 percent) with a tax levy increase of 2.37 (74,798,377) percent. The current 2010-2011 district budget is $80,128,573.

The budget was adopted 3-0, with president Terence Hale and vice-president Christine Napolitano as well as trustee William Hornberger voting “yes.” Trustees Irene Parrino and John McGrath abstained from the vote.

The district was aiming at decreasing the tax levy increase to 2.5 percent or lower for a fourth consecutive year without cutting programs. This budget will come before Mineola district voters in May. The current tax levy, which has seen a $1,734,364 increase for next year, is $73,064,013 in 2010-2011.

Finance Superintendent Jack Waters said Mineola received an additional $130,000 in state aid from the original proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Without including Education Jobs Fund aid, Mineola experienced a state aid reduction of approximately $140,000.

All current programs are included in the budget, as well as a $500,000 facility upgrade, which has been applied to such projects as the Hampton Street School press box. Finance Superintendent Jack Waters addressed residents in attendance on the budget and its parameters.

The transfer to capital mentioned during Waters’ final budget presentation is comprised of $2,129,650 for Hampton, paid out of the designated fund balance and $495,561 for the Meadow Drive Library, paid through the tax levy.

The two projects make up the transfer to capital of $2,625,211, which brings the adjusted budget to $81,596,427. The districts revenue is in the form of State aid, NEXTEL aid of $5,216,831 and $846,780 respectively.

Current salaries account for $47,900,000 of the 2010-2011 budget, and Waters said that typically the district would see an annual increase at 4 percent, which would total an estimated $49,800,000. Mineola budgeted $47,600,000, a $2.2 million difference made possible by the reconfiguration and by reducing 15.2 full-time positions. The excesses include one administrator, one head custodian and clerical retirements.

Waters said that budget increased by about $200,000 from the previous draft presented on March 16. The increases are in four areas: a $50,000 increase in primary insurance of which Waters is still waiting for a final number, two special education lines and private tuition and contract services for special education “by $50,000 each and a $20,000 hike in workers’ compensation.”

A contingent budget would see $2,791,933 in cuts come to the district, which would set the budget at $81,429,705. To arrive at this number, debt and leases would be subtracted from the current 2010-2011 budget, which would in turn be multiplied by 1.92 percent (120 percent of the consumer price index).

The contingency budget would be approximately $78.3 million. After adding 2011-2012 debt and leases, the contingent budget would see $26,565 in additional required cuts to the district.

The Hampton Project would still move forward since the funds allocated to the project would be transferred to the Capital Reserve Fund prior to June 30. A vote to spend those funds would take place some time during the 2011-2012 school year.