At a meeting on Thursday, Feb. 26, the Carle Place School District presented its tentative budget for the 2015-16 annual school year, which if adopted, would reduce the tax levy on residents by 0.3 percent.
The tax break is a result of the district cutting the budget from last year by more than $700,000, arriving at the proposed total budget of $47.46 million.
New York State mandates that school districts can impose tax levies on residents up to 1.28 percent on a year-to-year basis. The 0.3 percent decrease represents a $100,000 change from the 2014-15 tax levy of $42.32 million.
The overall budget decrease can be largely attributed to the Department of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) cutting funds by 4.63 percent equaling over $104,184. The total PPS budget sits at $2.1 million.
“We have students who are high cost that are now out of the district,” said Eileen Fredericks, executive assistant to the superintendent for special education and pupil personnel services. “We had two students move from the district which was a savings to us and one student who aged out from a high cost program.” A resolution was adopted later that night to promote Fredericks to assistant superintendent of the same department.
In addition to the Department of Special Education and PPS, Rushmore Elementary School also presented an overall budget decrease. At 3.65 percent, the school lowered its operating budget by $3,000, totaling $87,120.
“We’re in a very good place this year,” said Rushmore Principal Susan Folkson.
The middle school and high school, which have one operating budget, and Cherry Lane Elementary School, presented increases for the upcoming year, though in regards to the latter the only item increase was for more book titles in the library.
The total budget figures for Cherry Lane showed an increase of $1,630, which raised the year-to-year budget by 2.37 percent to $70,532.
“With the guidelines that have been established by the board of education, I believe that as a team we have met those objectives,” said Marilyn Manfredi, principal of Cherry Lane Elementary School.
The operating budget for the middle school and high school saw an increase of 3.62 percent bringing the proposed number to $461,022. The majority of the item increases were for new textbooks that must meet the common core curriculum standards adopted by the state government.
In order to meet the criteria for the common core regents, the budget for social studies textbooks nearly doubled from $7,940 to $15,574.
“Every year the budget process becomes more and more difficult,” said Barry M. Dennis, president of the Board of Education. “We’re dealing with the financial pressures of trying to stay within the state mandated tax cap on the one hand while on the other hand trying to find sufficient revenues to maintain the quality educational programs which has been so characteristic of the Carle Place School District for so many years.”
The next budget meeting will be March 12 in the Carle Place High School north cafeteria at 8 p.m. The board will vote to adopt the budget on March 26.
For more information on the proposed 2015-16 Carle Place school budget and to view possible changes throughout the process visit www.cps.k12.ny.us/.