‘Bulk’ of Riverhead school budget up 3.2 percent

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02/26/2014 12:00 PM |
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney speaks at a school board meeting.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead superintendent Nancy Carney speaks at a school board meeting.

While an overall increase in Riverhead School District’s 2014-2015 budget remains unknown at this time, Superintendent Nancy Carney reported that “the bulk” of the budget — regular school day expenses, transportation and facility costs — is expected to increase just over 3 percent next year.

During Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Ms. Carney gave her second presentation on part of the district’s budget, following a meeting in the middle of February about the debt obligations the district is facing. She has stated that her main goal in crafting next year’s spending plan is to stay under the state-mandated two percent tax levy cap.

Most of the budget is in general classroom teaching, instruction and support expenses, she said, which are projected to total $38.4 million in 2014-15. That’s a nearly a 3.23 percent increase over the current school year, she said.

“We’re in good place going into the 2014-15 school year,” the superintendent said. “I appreciate all the work the staff has done in the district in being very fiscally responsible and trying to present a budget that is very fair to the taxpayers, as well as preserving our programs.”

Although most of the increases are contractual, Ms. Carney said the Riverhead Charter School budget line is expected to increase by about 18.5 percent, totaling about $2.5 million in tuition costs. The spike is the result of the charter school receiving approval in March to expand its K-6 program through eighth grade.

Under the curriculum, instructional administration and state-mandated testing budget, Ms. Carney estimates about $4.1 million in expenses, a nearly .35 percent decrease compared to the current spending plan. Most of the decrease is a result of more projects in house as opposed to contracting out for services. Another cost savings projected for next year is with material and supplies because the district is using more digital materials as opposed to printing them on paper.

The facilities and security budget is up slightly by .84 percent, totaling about $8.1 million, and transportation expenses will realize a 2.4 percent savings over the current $5.8 million budget due to the district reorganizing its bus routes.

The school board is expected to adopt the spending plan on April 22. The budget vote is set for May 20 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at local polling locations.

Jennifer@timesreview.com