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School Board Adopts $178.6M Budget, Seeks Super-Majority Voter Approval

Budget would raise the tax levy by 4.48 percent.

For Three Village administrators and school board trustees, it's a chance worth taking: the district will officially float a budget that would pierce the state's tax cap threshold and need a super majority to pass.

The board of education on Tuesday voted unanimously to adopt a budget of $178,608,110, a number which would carry a 4.48 percent tax levy increase – which means it will need at least 60 percent voter approval come May 15.

Following the board's vote to adopt that budget, interim superintendent Neil Lederer said he wouldn't have felt comfortable not taking the chance of going above the tax cap.

"I’m not certain what our chances are. I think it’s going to be a real challenge," he said. "I think the budget is an excellent budget. It's well-grounded and provides for our students without cutting major programs."

The adoption comes after several weeks of dialogue in which the district distinctly began leaning in the direction of a 4.5 percent tax levy increase. The conversation included students and parents, who lobbied to save programs such as the , the program, Focus program, and more.

The $178,608,110 budget represents a 2.3 percent year-over-year increase in spending from the 2011-2012 school budget. It will carry a tax levy of $133,645,093, amounting to a tax levy increase of 4.48 percent. Administrators pointed to an overall reduction in state aid as the driving factor behind the tax levy increase, even after state lawmakers were able to for Three Village.

According to the state formula used to determine each district's exact cap, Three Village could have gone up to a 2.99 percent tax levy increase before needing a super majority of voter approval.

RELATED: View the district's official budget documents here.

The board of education in an extra work session on April 3, slashing some areas to make room for those programs and services to be preserved.

Administrators made $6.5 million in budget cuts en route to the number eventually adopted by the board. The adopted budget will eliminate 85.3 full-time positions, including 38.5 teachers, some of whom would have been laid off anyway due to declining enrollment. It will also eliminate 10.5 teaching assistants, 20 monitors, and three administrators, for a savings of $4,482,500 in staffing reductions. Other cuts included $130,000 from the athletics budget; close to $900,000 in supplies, equipment, and contracted services; and a savings of $840,000 achieved through retirement incentives.

"By voting for this budget, the board members believe this is the sound thing to do for the students in the school district," board president John Diviney said. "I think it’s worked out as best as we can possibly expect. Hopefully we will be successful next month."

prof mom April 18, 2012 at 10:54 AM
I will undoubtedly vote YES? I will support my children's educations and I will support their teachers.
prof mom April 18, 2012 at 10:55 AM
That shoul read "yes!" not "yes?"
Stony Brook Resident April 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Our sky high taxes still going up. 83 district employees loosing their positions. I am speechless. We need to vote no to show the administrators at North Country that it's time THEIR salaries were cut.
Educator April 18, 2012 at 02:32 PM
I am an educator. I cannot support this budget and will vote NO.
LivingSmall April 18, 2012 at 04:06 PM
How much more would those who opt to vote NO like see cut from the school programs? Do those who opt to vote NO have children in the schools? Have those who will opt to vote NO already put their children through the district at a time when the district had so much more to offer?
prof mom April 18, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Educator, you should be ashamed of your no vote. I too am an educator. What exactly do you take issue with? Do you still have children in school? Stony Brook resident? A no vote will not result in a decrease in administrators' salaries. It will result in children's programs being cut. Have you been to a Board Meeting? Have you stood up a voiced your concerns about administrators' salaries?
Educator April 18, 2012 at 05:50 PM
I am not at all ashamed. Yes I have children in the schools. Yes I have attended BOE meetings for many years. I do make my concerns known at BOE meetings and in speaking with the administrators. I also am involved in many other districts, attend their BOE meetings. I also understand all state laws and mandates and deal with them on a daily basis. I did not specifically mention the administrator's salaries, so I don't know where you comment comes from......You are choosing to believe the threats from the BOE and administration stating that cuts will "hurt the children's programs". These threats have echoed for many years.... Responsible cuts would not have touched the programs.
Its Over April 18, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Teacher salaries should be cut, not student programs. The Teacher's union helps themselves to raises and increments every year. they are the only state employees who have not felt cuts. also they do not pay their fair share of health insurance. enough overpaying. there is no reason to over pay anyone ever.
Stony Brook Resident April 18, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Prof mom/living small: yes I do have children in the district. Complaining at a meeting falls on deaf ears. We need to show them by voting no. Cuts need to start from the top-not from the bottom up. Enrollment is down in the district because no one can afford the ridiculous taxes we pay. They are cutting programs, increasing class sizes in all schools and 85 people are loosing their jobs in an already tough economy. Top administration still intact and untouched after all is said and done. If anyone is interested go to www.seethroughny.org to get an idea of how much our administration makes.
Tom G April 18, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Absolutely disgusting and obscene. The prof mom should be taxed at a higher rate since she does not mind paying higher taxes to educate her children. People like her have no regard for others who may be struggling to make ends meet and perhaps do not even have children in the school system. What a travesty this is. I bet thoes that can will try to leave Long Island and let the prof moms deal with the tax issues!
Shawn Clap April 18, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I think you had it right the first time: YES? (as in What?????)
C. Berry April 22, 2012 at 08:43 PM
I will be voting NO!! My school taxes have doubled in the last twelve years. I am a teacher in Nassau County and I do believe that districts must work within the cap and make budget cuts that reflect that they understand the current economy. How many Three Village School District employees have/use cars paid for by the Three Village School District taxpayer - take them all away and save $$, That's certainly an expense that we can no longer afford. Take a look at all the "For Sale" signs around the area - people can no longer afford to live here - the BOE needs to wake up and get responsible!! I'm fine with not getting a raise and paying for my health insurance. We are a family of 5 and that will be 5 NO votes!!
Tom G April 23, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Three cheers for C Berry! I am with you. My family will also be voting NO to this outrageous budget. Also, let us not forget who approved this buget when it is time for re-election.It is time for Three Village residents to stand up and shout ENOUGH!
mary ann May 07, 2012 at 01:19 PM
It's time to pack up, sell the house and move into an apartment rental!!! These school administrative people do not live in the REAL world!! We, homeowners, cannot afford any more taxes!! In the REAL world...there are NO raises and IF you have a job in the private sector, you pay for insurance. It's time for a reality check. Vote "NO" and let your voices be heard!

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