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Tax Rates Differ in Elwood and Northport School Budgets

Patch compares our two local school districts.

Now that the dust has settled and both and school districts have adopted 2011-12 budgets, Patch compares the two.

Northport Holds Staff and Programs Steady
Northport‘s $151,178,758 budget allows for programs and staff to remain in place. The administration has proposed an ambitious three-year technology program that would complete the installation of Smart Boards at all schools and supply teachers with Net Books in advance of supplying them to students. 

With an eye to a possible state-imposed 2% property tax cap next year, the administration and BOE chose to work as if that cap were already in place, and adopted a budget with an estimated 1.83% tax rate.

That number was kept in check partly because of Northport’s $22 million reserve fund – an amount that has raised the ire of some residents, and resulted in lengthy BOE meetings and much public debate as to whether there should be any tax increase at all.

The technology plan has added fuel to the fire, with some taxpayers questioning whether the new technology is needed given the uncertainty over LIPA’s tax certiorari, which could have a severe impact on the district’s finances.

Elwood Cuts 18 Full-Time Staff, Cut Full-Day K to Half
Then there’s Elwood. Faced with a loss in state aid and increases in mandated costs, the board would have had to adopt a budget with a 12.53% tax levy in order to keep all programs and staff intact. 

As an alternative, the administration and board took an eye-opening look at what a contingency budget with a more palatable 3.74% increase would mean: a loss of 30 staff members, along with elimination of athletics, music, and the arts, as well as the full-day kindergarten program.

After weeks of hearing from the public, the Board settled on middle ground: a $53.9 million budget with a 7.98% tax levy, which restored programs and sports. But 18.6 FTEs will still lose their jobs, and full-day kindergarten – which saw its state aid cut in half – is still reduced to a half day program. 

That said, trustees and the administration are not giving up. They are continuing to explore ways to add some sort of enrichment program to kindergarten, and are taking a line-by-line look to see if there are additional ways to save money.

As for reserves, Elwood had a total of $5.7 million as of June 30, 2010.  Board Vice President Joseph Fusaro had noted at a recent meeting that Elwood has tried to be extremely efficient in an effort to avoid overtaxing the public. Those efficiencies have included tightening the administrative belt, with some staff members taking on additional responsibilities and switching to Gmail for the district’s email system, which is free for K-higher education.

Super Tuesday
Both budgets votes are scheduled for Tuesday, May 17. Elwood's voting will take place from 2 to 10 p.m. Northport's will take place from  6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Anyone who has voted in school or general elections during the past four years is already registered and eligible to vote this May.

Elwood residents who aren't registered to vote may register to vote in the district Business Office, located at 100 Kenneth Ave in Elwood Middle School, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. any day school is in session through May 12th. There will also be a voter registration held on Wednesday, May 11th from 2:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Glenn High School.

Prospective voters in Northport can register at any district school between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., whenever school is in session, or at the Office of the District Clerk, located at the William J. Brosnan School, 158 Laurel Avenue, Room A109, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.

To find out if you are registered to vote you can call Suffolk County Board of Elections at 452-4500.

 

Northport

Elwood

Adopted budget amount

$151,178,758

$53, 949,930

Tax levy increase in %

1.69%

7.98%

Student population
(approximate)

6,225

2,625

2010-11 budget

$147,487,339

$51,107,080

Spending increase in $

$3,691,419

$2,842,850

Spending increase in %

2.5%

5.56%.

Tax rate

Roughly $162.20 per $100 assessed value.

Roughly $229.41per 100 of assessed value.

Tax rate % increase

1.83%

8.91%

Student Population

 

 

Propositions

Yes: $900,000 from the district’s capital reserve fund for two boilers at the Northport Middle School and replacement of the slate steps at the front of the William J. Brosnan School.

 

No.

Matt April 22, 2011 at 03:53 PM
A 1.83% tax increase for the Northport East Northport. UFSE’ school budget isn't that bad, right? So how would you feel if you knew the increase was actually... 13.5%?! • Based on the 2/28/1 1 budget memo,the district anticipates total expenditures for the 2010-2011 school year to be $133,556,516. ($4m LESS than 2009-2010 actual expenditures). • That’s $14.6 million ! than the adopted budget for 2010-201 1 and $1 &million less than the proposed budget for 2011-2012. • So, we’re spending $133.5m THIS year and the Board is asking us to approve a budget for $151.5m for Next year. That’s a 13.5% increase! THE BOARD OF EDUCATION TOLD THE TAXPAYERS THAT A “0” TAX INCREASE WAS NOT POSSIBLE. THEY'VE REPEATEDLY TOLD THE COMMUNITY THAT MONEY IS TIGHT AND THERE’S NO ROOM FOR A TAX BREAK. Oh, really? Should we approve a budget that’s $18 million, or 13.5% MORE than this year’s expenses? YOU BE THE JUDGE! VOTE on MAY 1 7th and let your voice be heard! See WWW.LICARE.ORG for more information. This is a new blog I've come across, seems pretty informative. Could this be a new taxed based organization in the N-ENC? This would be great news.
Npt for kids April 22, 2011 at 06:27 PM
Matt - looks like Jean Baron of the UTN-EN is starting her own splinter group. The twitter account for LongIslandCARE has been taken down, but here is the google cache: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:IhS68mz-BcsJ:twitter.com/LongIslandCARE+%22LICARE.ORG%22&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&source=www.google.com Name Jean Baron Web http://licare.org Bio Group of citizens, parents, & taxpayers committed to bringing awareness to our communities about public education funding, & educational outcomes in NY State.
Matt April 22, 2011 at 08:50 PM
Austerity Budgets for 2011-2012 can be no higher than 1.92% more than 2010-2012 approved budgets (which represents 120% of the 2010 CPI). There are a select few exclusions in this cap relating to specific cases causing hardship to the district. An Austerity Budget CANNOT be higher than the proposed budget. Therefore if your Board of Education claims that the tax rate increase is greater for an austerity budget then you need to find out WHY!?! In many cases, the Board of Ed’s “higher tax increase” calculation takes out the reserve funds or other revenue that they’ve used in the original budget to reduce the tax levy. This practice is deceptively misleading and often scares community members to vote “yes” for a budget because they fear higher tax increases. SHAME on those Board of Ed’s who use this scare tactic!” http://www.p12.nysed.gov/mgtserv/budgeting/contingency.html Please see the power point slide and link in this message to read more about austerity budgets. Please pass this message on to your friends and family in the district.
justsayin4u April 22, 2011 at 09:23 PM
NORTHPORT General Fund Only (in thousands) % OVER actual/budget YEAR ACTUAL BUDGET (UNDER) spending 04-05 $111,120 $110,396 $724 - 05-06 116,882 120,687 (3,805) 9% 06-07 124,134 128,697 (4,563) 10% 07-08 131,169 135,486 (4,317) 9% 08-09 137,477 143,909 (6,432) 10% 09-10 137,657 148,059 (10,402) 8% 10-11 133,557 * 147,487 (13,930) 7% 11-12 YOU JUDGE 151,179 YOU JUDGE 13% * Represents actual spending through January 31, 2011 plus amount encumbered through 06/30/11

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