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Letter to the Manhasset Community From the Manhasset Board of Education

­Our community faces significant and unprecedented challenges as we plan for the future of our schools and as we, your elected board members, work with our district administration to propose a school budget for the 2012-2013 school year under the new property tax levy limit laws recently enacted. With the passage of the 2 percent tax levy cap legislation, school districts across New York State are expected to propose budgets that do not require more than a 2 percent increase in the tax levy excepting a few allowable exceptions. An increase in the tax levy greater than 2 percent before the allowed exclusions will require approval of at least 60 percent of the voters. The 2 percent property tax levy cap comes at a time when Manhasset, just like every community throughout New York State, will be dealing with significant increases in pension and health care costs. Our Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) contribution will increase 12.5 percent; our Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) contribution will increase 18.9 percent and health care costs are expected to increase 8.25 percent. These increases will total $1.5 million.

The decisions we make now as a community dedicated to the tradition of educational excellence will impact our students and our community greatly in the near future. We have confidence that working together we will meet these challenges while balancing the goals of excellence and fiscal responsibility.

Please make every effort to stay informed about the developments that affect our schools both at the state level and the local level. The annual budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 15.

We will continue to keep you informed about everything that we are doing here in the Manhasset School District. A quick look at the major issues follows below. Feel free to contact our Superintendent, Charlie Cardillo, with any question you may have and as always, we are here to answer your questions too. Our contact information is on the district website: www.manhasset.ny.k12.us.  

The Manhasset Board of Education
Carlo Prinzo, President
Regina Rule, Vice President
Pat Aitken
Craig Anderson
Cindy Cardinal

• NYS Tax Levy Cap: The property tax levy growth factor is the lesser of 2 percent or national CPI, subject to certain allowable adjustments. School districts await further clarification on specifics of the calculations from the Office of the State Comptroller, Department of Taxation and Finance, State Education Department, Division of the Budget and the Governor’s office. An increase in the tax levy greater than 2 percent before allowed exclusions will require approval of a supermajority of at least 60 percent as defined in the legislation. A failed vote in May followed by a failed vote in June would lead to a zero percent increase in the tax levy.

• MESPA: The district’s contract with the Manhasset Educational Support Personnel Association (MESPA) expired on June 30, 2010. A fact finder has been appointed. The terms of MESPA’s expired contract continue in full force and effect until a new contract is negotiated in accordance with the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law.

MASA: The district’s contract with the Manhasset Administrators and Supervisors Association (MASA) expired June 30, 2011.

MEA: The district’s contract with the Manhasset Education Association (MEA) will expire June 30, 2012.

• APPR (Annual Professional Performance Review): State law now requires a comprehensive evaluation system for classroom teachers and building principals. District administration and teacher leaders are working on the development of a new APPR plan that could be in place for the 2012-2013 school year.

• Enrollment: Manhasset’s total enrollment continues to grow while many comparator districts are experiencing declines. We must prepare for a 10 percent increase in secondary school students in the nest 4-5 years.