Written by Betsy Abraham Friday, 22 March 2013 00:00
The Board of Education has to cut around $970,000 for next year’s budget and is hoping state aid will help avoid teacher layoffs.
“We want everyone who’s here to stay employed,” interim schools superintendent Mary Lagnado said.
Options for cutting that amount are limited. The district is considering changing kindergarten to half days. Lagnado is hopeful that the district won’t have to resort to the back up options, which include eliminating the elementary prep zero period at Dryden and Park Elementary schools and decreasing the amount of reading teachers.
The district is already expected to receive around $32 million in state aid, which is $3 million more than it received last year. However, Lagnado is optimistic that the district will receive additional state aid because it is below the state average for the combined wealth ratio, which is calculated by the community’s property wealth and income level. Another significant source of revenue is the $1.9 million the district is receiving in PILOT (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) from the county.
A four-point increase in the Teacher Retirement System has driven the budget up significantly. According to Lagnado however, there is talk on the state level on reducing the almost $2 million increase. The district also faces increases in contract salaries, health and medical insurance, and special education, BOCES, and transportation. In addition, enrollment in the Westbury School District has grown significantly. Over the past four years, enrollment has grown over 16 percent. The calculated budget for next year currently lies at $117,047,224. The budget vote will be held May 21.