Riverhead School Supe: ‘No’ vote on budget would only save $40k

The tax increase for homeowners in the Riverhead School District would only decrease slightly if the public fails to approve the proposed $110.3 million 2011-12 budget and a contingency budget is adopted instead, school officials said.

“There is very little difference between our preliminary budget and a contingency budget,” Superintendent Nancy Carney told the News-Review

If the public does not approve the proposed budget, the school board has the option of either presenting a revised budget for a second vote or immediately adopting the state-mandated contingency budget. If the revised budget is also rejected, then under state law the contingency budget, which is capped this year at a 1.92 percent spending increase over the previous year, will automatically be adopted.

The district’s proposed budget carries a 1.96 spending increase.

Spending under the contingency budget would be reduced about $40,000 from the $110,345,610 preliminary budget to $110,304,435, though the tax levy would decrease by about $60,000, according to a summary of the budget presented to the public at Phillips Avenue Elementary School Tuesday night.

Under the current preliminary budget, the tax levy ­— the amount of cash the district collects from tax payers — would be $87,650,136 million. This would be reduced to $87,588,961 million under the contingency budget.

To make up the $20,000 difference, the district would charge for community use of facilities.

If the contingency budget is adopted, the district would have to cut back on equipment, school supplies and non-safety related building improvements, Ms. Carney said. Those reductions are mandated by the state under contingency budgets.

No one commented on the specifics of the 2011-12 proposed budget, which includes 40 layoffs including 15 teaching positions, during the sparsely attended budget presentation Tuesday. School officials will be presenting the budget at the district schools until it is adopted by the board on April 12.

The budget will go before the public for a vote on May 17.

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