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Lowest Budget Increase In 15 Years

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Operations Christopher Van Cott gave the final budget presentation last Tuesday at the Oyster Bay-East Norwich Board of Education meeting. The final budget number of $54,578,478 was $1,074,367 more than the 2013-14 budget of $53,504,111. It is an increase of 2.01 percent, which is the lowest expenditure budget increase in at least 15 years.

The funding sources that make up the proposed budget are property taxes and the STAR program, State Aid, local revenue and the appropriated fund balance.

“The 2014-15 budget maintains all programs and services to students and $1 million will be returned to taxpayers to assist with the 2014-15 levy,” said Van Cott. “The budget complies with Oyster Bay-East Norwich tax levy limit as mandated by New York State.”

There will be continued use of the capital reserve to fund needed capital improvement projects and equipment without levying additional taxes. Some of the improvement projects in the district’s five year plan include tennis court reconstruction at the high school at a cost of $650,000, foam roof repairs and electrical panel installation at the high school at a total cost of $265,000 and ceiling replacement and exterior masonry work at the James Vernon school at a total cost of $260,000. The total cost estimate for the five year plan is $1,515,000.

Many projects have been funded in recent years through continued use of the capital reserve to fund needed capital improvement projects.

Members of the PTA Council, including OBEN Elementary Co-President, Jennifer Scamell, Alexandria Ross and PTSA member, Margaret Howes, said they were all in favor of the proposed 2014-15 budget.

If the budget does not pass and the district is forced to go on a contingency budget, an additional one million dollars would have to be cut, which may include reductions in co-curricular programs, athletic programs, needed equipment and certified and non-certified staff.  Additionally, by state mandate all community and non-community groups would have to be charged for the use of the facilities under a contingency budget.

All the budget information can be found on the school website at www.obenschools.org.

The budget vote will take place on May 20 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Oyster Bay High School.