The public will have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the proposed 2013-2014 Nothport-East Northport School budget on Monday night.
A number of emails were already received and published by the Board of Education, all of them opposing an increase above the two percent tax cap imposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year.
"We urge you to control the budget increases to the 2% that was painfully negotiated and adopted," wrote one couple. "Our family is living on a fixed (no COLA) pension and Social Security, so increases in our property tax (most of which goes to the School) affect us directly. And we are certainly not alone in our concerns! And when we realize UFSD 4 is spending $26K per student and has $30M squirreled away as surplus, we lose confidence in the BOE’s capability. Maybe we can’t afford the kind of education you have in mind; if the house market ever improves, there might well be an exodus out of Northport‐East Northport. We might be among them!"
"I encourage the BOE to include the community in the decision making process as Half Hollow Hills has done," wrote another. "With the significant decrease in the number of students, the district needs to explore the cost savings achieved in closing a school. If the school is not closed, explore the possibility of making it a full day kindergarten center. Explore the possibility of redistricting as Commack has done. These are challenging times for all and creative possibilities need to be brought to the community for discussion. In the future, kindly include the number of students in the budget book."
"There is no pressure for [Superintdent McDermott] to make the hard decisions to find ways to save, like closing a school. Unlike many of the taxpayers, whose money the district accumulates, who do have to make the hard decisions and tradeoffs because they don’t have income that exceed expenses or fund balance to cover increasing expenses. In fact, many taxpayers have expenses, including their ever-increasing school taxes, which exceed their (declining) income, and are struggling to get by. A recent Wall Street Journal article stated that foreclosures are rising due to delinquent property taxes (“Tax Liens Trigger More Foreclosures”, The Wall Street Journal, July 14-15, 2012)."
"Over the past few years the UTN-EN has called for a zero percent tax levy increase. We see no reason that this could not be accommodated given the factors noted above. In fact, given all those factors and the declining enrollment at the elementary school level, it may be time to start pushing for a decrease in the tax levy."
The full agenda for the board meeting can be found on board docs.