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Residents to Vote on School Budget May 19

Residents of the Mineola School District will be going to their local elementary school, either the Hampton Street School, Jackson Avenue School, Cross Street School or Meadow Drive School, to vote on a proposed school budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

The proposed budget adopted by the board of education amounts to a $79,239,241 spending plan, an increase of 1.17 percent over the current year’s budget. The tax levy, which is the amount of the budget that will be raised by taxes, amounts to a 2.45 percent increase over the current year’s budget. According to district officials, for an average household in the district that currently pays $5,400 in school taxes, the proposed budget would increase the tax bill by $132.

The proposed budget preserves all current educational, co-curricular programs as well as extracurricular programs and athletic programs. The budget also keeps the school district’s class size guidelines intact. 

In addition, the proposed budget maintains the $500,000 allocation for capital upgrades that is allotted each year in the budget for repairs and preventative maintenance to district facilities. 

The proposed budget also avoids layoffs. Staff reductions include one central administrator due to the retirement of the current superintendent of schools and two clerical positions.

One possible change that could have affected the budget would have been closing a school and reorganizing the grades. Whether the proposed budget passes or fails, all current schools will remain open for the 2009-2010 school year. The board of education will still need to decide if it will decide to close a school for the 2010-2011 school year. That decision will need to be made by August. 

This will also be the last budget vote for superintendent of schools Dr. Larry Licopoli. The proposed budget represents the lowest budget-to-budget increase and lowest tax levy increase in Dr. Licopoli’s tenure as superintendent, which dates back to 2001. 

In addition to the budget vote, residents of the district will also be voting on trustees for the board of education. Chris Napolitano is running unopposed for the seat currently occupied by Steve Siwinski, who decided to retire from the board. John McGrath is running for the seat he currently occupies and is being challenged by Kathy Darmstadt. Both seats are three-year terms. There will be coverage of the candidates in next week’s issue of the Mineola American.

The Mineola School budget vote and trustee election will be held on Tuesday, May 19 between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.