Riverhead schools to get $600K more state aid than expected

03/31/2011 4:00 PM |

The Riverhead Central School District will see $593,309 more in state aid next school year than district officials had anticipated, according to figures provided by the state Legislature when compared with the governor’s proposed budget in February.

Statewide, the adopted state budget restored some $272 million in school aid from the $1.5 billion in cuts Governor Andrew Cuomo had proposed.

“We’re very grateful and thankful for the hard work of our legislators,” Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said of the money. “That’s more than we were expecting.”

Although Ms. Carney said “reducing the tax levy will most likely be a priority,” she added that it was too soon to say exactly how the $593,309 would be used.

“At the next Board of Education meeting we’ll be discussing the impact of that legislation,” she said. “It’s up to the board.”

The Riverhead district was set to lose about $2.95 million from this school year’s $19 million aid package, which includes some federal stimulus money, that won’t be available next school year, according to Mr. Cuomo’s proposed budget released in February.

Riverhead officials have already held several public meetings in consideration of a proposed $110.3 million budget for the 2011-12 school year that eliminates 38 full-time positions, including 15 teachers. A final budget proposal goes to voters on May 17.

The draft budget (not yet accounting for the extra $593,309) proposes a spending increase of about 2 percent from the previous year but the tax levy — the amount of cash the district collects from taxpayers — would go up 5.7 percent for 2011-12, which is $5.2 million, due to the loss of state and federal aid.

The smaller Shoreham-Wading River School District learned last Thursday that $33,510 in aid cuts was being restored from Mr. Cuomo’s proposed budget, according to News-Review calculations from those same state-supplied figures.

The superintendent there, Harriet Copel, said that amount is not enough to make much of an impact.

“$33,510 is a very small portion of our total aid,” Dr. Copel explained. “Although it certainly is a welcome additional revenue.”

“We always would like to get more, but we take what we can get, and this is good,” she added.

Shoreham-Wading River, which is proposing a $60 million budget, will be losing $820,000 from this year’s aid package, according to the newspaper’s calculations.

The state has passed cuts in all areas of its budget in an attempt to reduce a $10 billion budget deficit.

In his proposed budget, Mr. Cuomo had called for cutting 11 percent worth of state aid to Nassau and Suffolk counties, New York City would have lost just under 8 percent with the state losing about 9.3 percent as a whole, officials said.

After weeks of outcry from Long Island superintendents and lawmakers alike, legislators were able to boost those numbers — and narrow the gap — to about 9 percent for L.I., 7 percent for NYC and just over 8 percent statewide.

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14 Comment

  • Do some repairs with it..

  • Amen, Laurie, do some repairs, and next year use next year’s money to do more repairs. Stop cutting maintenance from the budget, cut benefits, make the teachers pay their fair share towards the health insurance (at least 50%). And drop the bond idea. We have no more money.

  • Amen, Laurie, do some repairs, and next year use next year’s money to do more repairs. Stop cutting maintenance from the budget, cut benefits, make the teachers pay their fair share towards the health insurance (at least 50%). And drop the bond idea. We have no more money.

  • I agree 100% that the teachers should pay at least 50%of their benefits. Although repairs should have been going on for the past 20 or so years instead of being neglected it is long overdue to get started on them asap!

  • I agree..We not only have past board members for consistently removing maintenance money to blame but we must also blame our self for allowing members to stay on the BOE for years and years and years.We never questioned certain things.
    Look just because i question and speak openly at the CPR or at the BOE meetings even when I do my report on WRIV ,I get accused of hating children ..hating sports and hating teachers.I hate one of them what I do hate are BOE members that have alliances with unions and have certain interests other than the Best Education for the least money.
    It appears Mr.Carey that the Three that are up for re-election only has one person trying for a seat…..sad that this community stays away from meetings and only depends on Newspaper reports…

  • Laurie, you seem very on top of things. Were you aware that the board was consistently removing maintenance from the budgets? If not, I can’t imagine how the regular citizen could know this. I am going to vote against the bond. I agree the schools are in desperate need of repair but until I see the selfish teachers give SOMETHING, such as paying for their own freaking HEALTH INSURANCE like the rest of us, I’m not picking up the tab. Forget the needs vs wants. When the teachers have the wants, they don’t give a crap about the needs, and now they are asking US to do the caring for them. We are not made of money. But frankly, THEY ARE, at this point in time.

  • This is untimely, unbelievable, heartbreaking. The Cindy I knew (in high school) was one of the most positive, upbeat, happiest girls in Southold. Her family is my thoughts and good wishes, Jean Jacques Manogue

  • Just what we don’t need – another drug store and an auto supply store. T.G.I. Friday’s would have been better and would have looked nicer.