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Letter: New Levittown Schools Budget Proposed for June 15: Still Too Costly

The second proposed budget for the Levittown School District would be a 30 percent decrease from 3.81 percent to a 2.63 percent tax levy increase. The district has reduced the tax levy by $1.4 million, taking $700,000 out of the budget. This may sound great but it doesn’t look at the big picture, which is the overall budget increase.

This second budget proposal decreases spending from $11,161,404 to $10,461,404. The average budget increase in Nassau County was 2.54 percent. The new proposed budget of $192,843,816 is a 5.7 percent increase. This is still the highest in Nassau County. Originally, in the first proposed budget the district was using $9 million in our unfunded reserves. This is money not spent from the previous year’s budget accumulated from revenue and expenditures. Now we will be using $9.7 million from this fund leaving a balance of $5.3 million.

I spoke with an assistant superintendent and was told the district normally has $3 to $5 million remaining at the end of the year. The $9 million was unusually high. If we were to spend the entire amount of the proposed budget, what will happen next year and the year after that? Last year’s adopted budget was $182,382,412 and we were left with an extra $9 million. Therefore we only spent $173,382,412. Now the district is proposing a new budget for $192,843,816. Then you could technically say that our budget is increasing by $19,461,404. This is more than a 10 percent increase. Even if the district goes on a contingency budget of $182,382,412 this is still $9 million more than we spent last year.

Island Trees budget increased by 1.24 percent. Have you ever compared your taxes to theirs? If you were to buy a home in Island Trees with a 2010 market value of $400,000 your school tax would be $6,600 with a total property tax of $9,900. In Levittown you would pay a school tax of $9,700 and a total tax of $13,500. Most homes sold in Levittown are purchased by first time homebuyers. Unfortunately, when you put your house on the market the buyers always look at the property taxes. Wouldn’t you?

In these difficult economic times we need to think about the future. Is the economy improving? Are people still losing their jobs? Are the unemployed finding jobs? Have you received a salary increase this year? Could you lose your job? Did senior citizens receive a Social Security increase? In general are your bills increasing? How’s your retirement fund doing? There needs to be tax relief. We all must come together and do what is best for the community. The students shouldn’t have to suffer but neither should the taxpayers. The administration, board of education, and teachers must find a better solution.

Susan Handel