Written by Wendy Kreitzman Thursday, 16 May 2013 00:00
Residents in the Great Neck School District vote on the proposed $209,442,904 2013-2014 school budget this coming Tuesday, May 21. In addition to the budget vote (Proposition No. 1), eligible voters also vote on the Great Neck Library budget (Proposition No. 2) and for one Board of Education trustee, Monique Bloom (who is running unopposed, having been appointed to the school board last year).
As always, by far the largest percentage of the budget is dedicated to instruction. This amounts to around 75 percent of each year’s budget.
The school district budget number is a 4.85 percent increase over the current budget. As a result, the increase in the amount to be raised by real property tax is 3.14 percent. Almost half of the $4.43 million budget increase is due to higher retirement system contributions (required by the state), in addition to other major factors such as health insurance, Social Security, contractual salary increases and Medicare reimbursements.
The 2013–2014 budget includes $4.76 million in appropriated reserves, which are unspent funds from prior years. These reserves will be used to offset the increases in retirement system contributions, workers compensation payments, and unemployment insurance expenses, and for the anticipated cost of tax certiorari refunds.
A list of county, state and federal mandates, all imposed with insufficient financial aid, also drains the school district’s funds.
In addition to mandates such as the above mentioned, and in spite of these mandates, the school district managed to once again stay below the state mandated two percent tax cap. As per the state formula, Great Neck schools stay within the cap with a 3.14 tax levy increase.
As a result of all of these financial pressures, personnel reductions were also necessary. About $2.5 million was saved through “strategic” personnel reductions, which translates into the loss of about 40.5 full-time positions.
Voting is from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., at Baker School and South High School.