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GNPS Adopt Budget For 2012-2013 School Year

Budget hearings indicate public support and approval of upcoming budget

For the second year in a row, the Great Neck Public Schools budget stays below the state mandated 2 percent tax levy cap. The 2012-13 budget of $199,747,079 was approved at the board of education’s April 17 official budget hearing. The board of education voluntarily kept the current budget increase under 2 percent, and for this year’s new state mandate for the upcoming budget, the board held to a 3.32 percent increase that also stays below the cap (via a complicated state issued formula).

The current budget for the 2011-12 school year is $193,324,596.

During a brief discussion period prior to adoption of the budget, Trustee Donald Ashkenase spoke of his pleasure over the fact that none of the previous budget hearings this year had brought out any opposition. The school district and the school budget consistently enjoy strong public support and Mr. Ashkenase, a member of the school board’s finance committee, is hopeful that this year will prove the same.

“We couldn’t be more fortunate in having our administrative leadership,” Mr. Ashkenase also said. And Board of Education President Barbara Berkowitz agreed, adding a “thank you” to Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan, Assistant Superintendent for Business John Powell and the members of their staff. Ms. Berkowitz emphasized the school district’s hard work in once again managing not to exceed the tax levy cap.

The $199,747,079 budget for the 2012-13 school year amounts to $186,767,774 (2.49 percent) to be raised by real property tax.

Again, by far the largest percent of the budget, 74.56 percent, is devoted to instruction. This is even higher than this year’s percentage, which is 73.77 percent. Buildings and grounds are next, with 10.83 percent of the budget devoted to this portion. Transportation accounts for 6.42 percent, general support is 4.31 percent, adult education and recreation is 1.68 percent, debt service is 1.28 percent, and capital projects accounts to .92 percent.

As for the budget’s revenue numbers, the bulk, 94.15 percent, is to be raised by property tax, with 3.23 percent from state aid, and 2.6 percent listed as miscellaneous. The state aid, which was about 15 percent over 30 years ago, is 3.4 percent this year, having decreased greatly over the years.

Voting on the 2012-2013 school budget is Tuesday, May 15. School district voters living north of the railroad tracks vote at the E.M. Baker Elementary School. Voters living south of the railroad tracks vote at Great Neck South High School. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.