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School Board Plows Through Budget Cuts, Restorations

Tuesday's work session yielded a tentative budget the school board may vote to adopt on April 17.

The Three Village Board of Education on Tuesday examined each line item in the proposed 2012-2013 school budget, suggesting additional cuts and making recommendations for the preservation of programs and staffing positions.

As a result, the trustees found ways to restore some teaching positions at the elementary level along with programs including at both the junior high and high school levels; the program at Ward Melville High School; the Focus and PM school programs; and the theater arts program at the junior high level.

To offset the cost of some of those additions, trustee Irene Gische recommended slashing $100,000 from the maintenance and operation of plant facilities budget lines. Trustee Deanna Bavlnka recommended reducing the cost of postage and printing of district materials, suggesting the district make a bigger push to use email for communication. Trustee Inger Germano recommended reducing the amount of money the district spends on new library materials in each of the eight schools.

The debate took into account funds the district recovered from the state following the slashing of more then $800,000 from the its initial state aid projection.

According to Jeff Carlson, assistant superintendent for business services, the proposed budget would amount to an appropriation of $178,638,110, which represents a 2.3 percent year-over-year increase in spending from the 2011-2012 school budget. It would carry a tax levy increase of 4.504 percent – the same amount which the district had been deliberating over the past several week – which will need the approval of 60 percent of voters, rather than a simple majority, come May 15.

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

"I think we’re at the spot now where we can go forward," interim superintendent Neil Lederer said.

However, this version of the proposed budget is not the final word. The school board could either vote to adopt this version of the proposed budget or make additional changes before adopting it at its next meeting on April 17.

The process lacked input from board president John Diviney and vice president Jonathan Kornreich, both of whom were not in attendance, but whom the trustees expect will weigh in with their opinions at the next meeting.

bm April 08, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Somebody has a chip on their shoulder...
bm April 08, 2012 at 03:09 PM
Sounds like bullying to me! You can disagree without being nasty. Shame on you!!
Had Enuf! April 09, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Two observations It is frustrating to have a discussion with someone that doesn't answer a question, but rather feels the need to convince themselves that they are because than me because they go to budget meetings. How do you know how involved I am? Second, it's always about the kids right? So why when budget cuts are needed, it is always programs for the kids that are put on the chopping block, not employee salaries and benefits. So.....what school do you teach at? And Is it really about the kids? Really?
LivingSmall April 09, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Had Enuf! -- Contracts prevent the BoE from cutting teacher salaries. It is up to the BoE to best represent the community so that future contracts are more in line with the economic conditions. When a contract is in force, we have to look for cuts elsewhere -- laying off teachers in order to reduce programs is one such measure. If you want to keep a program, the teacher has to be there to run it, which means paying that salary. If anything, we should be going after the top heavy administration and eliminating positions there.
LIMom April 17, 2012 at 02:55 PM
NO ONE wants to pay higher taxes. But, let's work on long term solutions that will enable our children to continue to be educated by qualified individuals in an appropriate learning environment. The education being offered to our children keeps being whittled away. If the budget gets voted down there will be significantly more cuts. For those who suggest cutting teacher salaries and benefits -- Do we want to have it where there’s no way a family of two teachers could ever hope to afford to live in or near our district? That would be a great way to discourage intelligent young people from pursuing a career in education. Could you imagine if the majority of those teaching barely passed the class when they took it, rather than having teachers who enjoyed and excelled at the subject to pass along their enthusiasm and knowledge to our kids? How did education become of such little import that the job of educating children is valued so little? Let’s find where excess expenditures are and eliminate them. Fight to keep Long Island tax dollars ON Long Island as well as adjusting calculations so that living expenses and how much of the tax burden is put on the homeowner are factored in. These aren't issues that can be solved instantly, but for those who want to keep the taxes down, spend the next year (or two or three) helping to create real change. Voting "no" on the budget does nothing to solve the problem. It only serves to harm the kids.

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