The Carle Place School District’s 2018-19 budget not only stays below the tax cap, but represents among the lowest budget-to-budget increases in the county.
Election Day will find Carle Place residents voting on a $49,440,424 budget that represents a nominal .33 percent increase over last year’s budget. In addition to the budget, voters will decide on several propositions, including one to allot funds for security upgrades, and who will fill three board of education seats.
The tax levy increase is 1.99 percent, lower than the allowable amount of 2.72 percent. That comes out to an average increase of about $12.65 per month.
Major budget drivers were health insurance ($405,000), operations/safety ($250,000), instruction ($220,000), transportation ($26,000) and the retirement system ($97,000). With major expenditure drivers racking up to $998,000, the district saw relief in the form of the loss of a 20-year bond payment, at $837,000.
State aid for the 2018-19 school year was $4,610,000 with PILOTs coming in at $1,602,976.
The budget not only includes all existing programs for students, but expands several offerings as well. Built into the budget is the addition of one staff member for a Life Skills program at the middle school, similar to what’s already underway at the elementary and high school levels. Superintendent Dave Flatley noted that this will be the first time the Life Skills program, which teaches special education students employment and life skills, will be offered at each of the district buildings.
“As kids in that track from Rushmore come to the middle school, we need to have a [Life Skills] program at our middle school,” said Flatley. “There is a group of kids on the Life Skills track at Cherry Lane, Rushmore and the high school currently. It used to be in the middle school, but that group moved to the high school. The gap is now being filled with kids from Rushmore.”
Based on student requests, the district will also be adding more business courses, as well as sending three students to the Long Island High School for the Arts, something they have not done in several years.
In addition to voting for the budget, which was adopted by the Carle Place Board of Education on March 22, residents will also decide on three other financial propositions. The propositions include no additional impact to the budget.
Proposition 2 would authorize the district to establish a repair reserve fund not to exceed $1 million. The fund would pay the cost of repairs to capital improvements or equipment that doesn’t need annual repairs. The fund would replace a previous repair reserve, established by voters in May of 2013, which is set to expire on June 30.
Voters will also be asked to authorize the utilization of up to $1,730,090 of the capital reserve fund created in 2013. The funds would go towards districtwide security camera and network upgrades, the door replacement project and electrical system upgrades in the high school, and phase three of the abatement project at Rushmore Avenue School.
Money from that fund would also go towards security upgrades, including a security command center at the high school.
“That command center will house a security officer at all times that people are in our buildings,” Flatley said. “They will have access to all the cameras in our buildings so they can watch what’s going on in real time and have several methods of communication, so they can communicate with other security officers, administration, the police department and fire department. We felt that this was worth having our own security officers monitoring our own buildings.”
There would also be additional and upgraded cameras, as well as new doors that are easier to lock, entrance/exit controls and additional vestibule security. The budget also contains resources for additional security officers, as well as a senior security officer position.
The district is also asking for authorization of up to $2,269,910 of the capital reserve fund created in 2017 to go towards the remaining cost of phase three abatement at Rushmore Avenue School.
There are also three seats up for election on the board of education. Carle Place residents will vote for two members for three-year terms, beginning July 1, 2018, as well as the term formerly served by late President Barry Dennis, which expires June 30, 2020.
Of the three members to be seated on the board of education, the two with the greatest number of votes will fill the three-year terms. The person with the third-highest number of votes will assume the seat vacated by Dennis and will be seated on the board immediately after the vote has been announced by the clerk and declared by the board of education.
Election Day is Tuesday, May 15.