Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Wednesday, 13 May 2009 09:07
Residents of the Westbury School District will take to the polls May 19 to vote for or against the district’s proposed $103,625,288 budget for 2009-2010. The proposed spending plan represents an additional $4,900,767 or 4.96 percent budget-to-budget increase over the current year’s approved spending plan of $98,724,521.
Westbury’s 2009-2010 proposed spending plan is broken into three components: Administrative: $9.444.620 or 9.11 percent; Program: $82,298,076 or 79.42 percent; and Capital: $11,882,592 or 11.47 percent. According to district officials, enrollment for the upcoming school year is expected to increase by 53 students from 4,166 to 4,219.
Of the budget’s total cost, school officials estimate that $29,494,652 or 28 percent will be offset by state aid – an increase of $927,036 over the current year’s spending plan. The additional funds from state aid have cut the tax levy increase to 2.14 percent to represent 40 percent or $41,357,436 of the proposed spending plan. The remainder will come from the fund balance ($5.7 million or 6 percent); commercial tax levy ($24,609,500 or 24 percent); and other revenues ($2,463,700 or 2 percent).
Under the proposed budget, the tax rate increase will be 2.14 percent for the average Westbury homeowner (based on an average assessment of $488,400). As a result, the average homeowner’s school tax bill would increase by $122.33 – from $7,570.05 to $7,692.38. This increase would translate into an additional $10.19 per month or $0.34 a day.
According to district officials, the proposed budget is actually $202,563 less than the state’s allowable contingency budget. If voters were to reject the proposed 2009-2010 spending plan, the district would operate on an austerity budget of $103,825,851, which would result in a tax rate increase of around $150.
“The average homeowner’s school property tax bill could actually be higher under a budget rejected by the voters,” said Superintendent of Westbury Schools Dr. Clarke-Snead. “A complicated state formula permits the contingency budget to be about $220,000 more than what we have proposed, making the school tax levy proportionately higher.” She concluded, “We have worked hard to contain costs wherever possible without sacrificing the educational programs for our students.”
Note: The estimated tax rate for both the proposed spending plan and the contingency budget are subject to adjustments due to finalization of assessed value date and calculation of adjusted base proportions; final tax rates will be set by Nassau County.
“We believe that this budget provides the essentials to ensure a quality education for all students in the Westbury School District,” said Clark-Snead. “The board of education, administration and teachers are resolved to accomplish this and we believe we have done so.” She added, “The increased state aid and reduced tax levy is welcome news for Westbury’s taxpayers. Working with the administration, the board has been able to maximize the district’s resources while providing Westbury’s students the necessary tools to learn and succeed.”
For more information on the Westbury School District’s proposed 2009-2010 spending plan, tune into Cablevision channel 18 at 8 p.m. weeknights through May 19. Radio listeners can find out more by tuning in to WNYH 740 AM on Thursday, May 14 at 2 p.m.
Voting for the 2009-2010 Westbury School District spending plan and board of education election will take place on Tuesday, May 19 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Drexel Avenue, Dryden Street, Park Avenue School and Westbury Middle schools. Applications for absentee ballots for eligible voters who are incapacitated or who will be out of town on May 19 may be obtained by calling the district clerk’s office at 876-5026. Additional information is also available online at www.westburyschools.org.