Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 18 January 2013 00:00
The Jan. 7 Glen Cove Board of Education meeting marked the official opening of budget season.
Deputy Superintendent Kevin Wurtz presented the budget review.
“There are a lot of good things in here, and a lot of things that are troubling,” Wurtz said at the start of his presentation. He noted that the district is in “good fiscal shape” and that the budget has “a lot of moving parts.”
As in years past, the district starts the process with a rollover budget, moving all expenses forward and accounting for known areas of estimated revenues and expenditures. It is a working document for the board members to get an idea of how much money will need to be cut, and which areas to cut from.
“I went through every service, every employee and moved them forward without cuts,” Wurtz explained, “I flat lined the revenue, and will adjust accordingly when we know how much we will receive in state aid.”
He then went through a Power Point presentation highlighting every major category of expense contained in the budget, and pointed out areas that are expected to either go up or down in the 2013-14 school year. While some areas estimated to have a higher expenditure, such as the tax refunds line item at $449,000 and workmen’s compensation at $427,445, can be transferred out of the reserve fund at the board’s discretion, some of the biggest increases are out of the district’s control.
This year, the teacher’s retirement fund is expected to increase by 1.8 percent, bringing the total cost to the district to about $4.8 million, $1.6 million more than the current year.
One area that might find a savings is transportation; two studies are currently underway to assess the best options for cutting that expense, whether it is staggering start times, changing routes, or eliminating buses.
The rollover budget is projected to be a little over $3 million more for the 2013-14 school year. The current budget is $74,098,650, and the projected rollover budget is $77,130,288. This would mean a 4.87 tax levy increase. To get the tax levy down to 2 percent, the board would have to cut $1,786,296 from the budget.
“School districts are dealing with two emotionally charged items: money and children,” said Dr. Laria. “During budget season, emotions can get to a fever pitch.” He stressed the importance of separating needs from wants when making decisions about the budget, and praised the district for handling the subject maturely over the past two years.
Budget discussions will continue on March 18 and March 20, with the board slated to adopt the budget on April 22. A public hearing will be held May 7, and the vote will take place on May 21.
At the meeting, the 2012 AP Scholars were recognized.
“I congratulate each and every one of you, and each and every parent for being a role model,” said Dr. Laria. “You represent the best of the best, the brightest of the brightest, and give us great hope for the future.”