Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 14 May 2010 00:00
Residents of the Westbury School District will take to the polls May 18 to vote for or against the district’s proposed $106,215,920 budget for 2010-2011. The proposed spending plan represents an additional $ 2,590,632 or 2.5 percent budget-to-budget increase over the current year’s approved spending plan of 103,625,288.
Westbury’s 2010-2011 proposed spending plan is broken into three components: Administrative: $9,688,100 (9 percent); Program: $85,149,151 (80 percent); and Capital: $11,380,669 (11 percent). According to district officials, enrollment for the upcoming school year is expected to increase by 133 students from 4,359 to 4,492.
Of the budget’s total cost, approximately 26 percent or $27,948,074 will be offset by state aid – a $1.5 million decrease over the current year’s state aid reimbursements of nearly $29.5 million. As a result, the remaining funds will be offset mainly by commercial and residential tax dollars.
Under the proposed budget, the tax rate increase is estimated to be 6.88 percent (for an average Westbury homeowner based on an average tentative assessment of $416,800). As a result, the average school tax bill would increase by $476.80 from $7,837.99 to $8,314.79. This increase would translate into a monthly tax bill of $692.90, a $39.73 per month increase over the current year. Please note that the estimated tax rate is subject to adjustments due to finalization of assessed value data and calculation of adjusted based proportions. Final tax rates will be set by Nassau County.
The proposed budget includes a $2.6 million increase in mandated special education costs, state retirement system cost increase and contractual obligations. Therefore, to cut costs and restrict the tax burden, district officials state that the proposed budget includes reductions in administrative and instructional personnel; reductions in purchasing of supplies and equipment; participation in a countywide purchasing consortium; and a reduction in programs. Additionally, no new capital projects have been included.
According to the district’s budget newsletter (www.westburyschools.org), positions will be scaled back through attrition (not replacing retirees and offering a retirement incentive recently approved by the board of education), as well as through personnel restructuring (moving administrative personnel back into teaching positions).
If voters were to reject the proposed 2010-2011 spending plan, the district would operate on a contingency budget of $105,287,370. At $1,662,082 less than the proposed spending plan, a contingency budget would result in a budget-to-budget increase of 1.6 percent.
Operating under a contingency budget, according to the district’s newsletter, will “negatively affect the district’s credit rating by showing a lack of voter support for education and impacting the cost of borrowing. In addition, usage fees for community use of facilities would be mandated based on actual costs, including custodian overtime and security personnel.”
Note: The estimated tax rate for both the proposed spending plan and the contingency budget are subject to adjustments due to finalization of assessed value date and calculation of adjusted base proportions; final tax rates will be set by Nassau County.