Written by Robert Katulak Friday, 07 May 2010 00:00
The New Hyde Park-Garden City Park Board of Education collaborating with the Superintendent of Schools, Robert Katulak, and our district’s administrators have put forward a budget, which is fiscally responsible in these difficult times in which we live, and maintains all essential programs for our students. We have worked hard to come up with a series of budget reductions that respects the financial needs of our taxpayers, and at the same time, continues to provide rigor and excellence for our children’s education.
The budget proposal is a 3.13 percent increase, which is lower than the 3.20% from last year, and the lowest increase in six years. Based on the projected 6.9% loss in state aid and an assumption that the total property assessment is the same as last year, this 3.13 percent increase will result in a property tax increase of approximately 4.9 percent.
We continue to develop a “maintenance of effort budget” for the past few years, and despite the loss of state aid, we have kept our tax rate increase to the average of about 3 percent. In a small size district such as ours, when you use this approach, you do not have “fat” to cut out of the budget like some of the larger districts. The information that compares districts in the newspapers sometimes does not tell the entire story. The budget we are presenting includes offsets to mandated expenses by over $310,000, and keeps all staff and programs in place for the benefit of our students. Our teachers and staff are improving productivity, and they are rising to the challenge of doing more with less, and still maintaining the quality of education which our students deserve.
This year more than ever, due to the federal and state economic crisis, we held over ten public forums throughout our community regarding the budget process and figures. We have asked our community tough questions as to what they wanted to see kept in the budget, and what they could live without in the budget. Those suggestions were all incorporated in the budget that we will put forward to you on May 18. We have decided to use some of our reserves to help offset the tax levy increase caused by the reduction in state aid. We have kept some reserves for next year’s budget to avoid great spikes in the tax levy.
In the final analysis, we must make difficult decisions to balance the financial concerns of our community with the academic needs of our students. Our expenditures are borne out with the outstanding results of our students as demonstrated from the New York State assessments.
Please read the budget newsletter when it arrives in your homes for additional facts and figures.