SWR school board to hold fourth budget workshop (see agenda)

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Shoreham-Wading River superintendent Steven Cohen at the meeting to appoint him last June.

The Shoreham-Wading River superintendent will discuss the district’s special education program, health services, technology and the 2012-13 school year curriculum during the district’s fourth budget workshop of the year tonight, Tuesday.

Superintendent Steven Cohen will continue his presentations on the proposed 2012-13 budget, which calls for a 3.98 percent spending increase from this year’s budget. The presentation will also cover personnel services and staff development, according to the meeting agenda.

The district’s proposed $62.4 million budget would bring it under the state-mandated 2-percent tax levy cap, which limits the amount of money the district can collect from taxpayers. Next year’s tax levy would be a 1.75 increase from this year, Dr. Cohen said.

Rather than deal with cutbacks to remain under the cap, the district is pulling about $3.75 million from its reserve funds to make up for lost tax revenue — about double what was taken from the fund last year. School officials have said there is more than $16 million available to the school between the various reserve funds, some of which must be spent in the coming years due to state regulations.

The reserve funds will be tapped since all the money in the fund balance — the surplus left unspent from the this years’ budget, such as reduced heating costs over the warm winter — is depleted, officials said.

Dr. Cohen presented a contingency budget at the last school board meeting that showed $830,000 would have to be cut from the budget should the budget not be approved by district voters. This is because if the vote fails, the district is required to keep the tax levy at the same level, year-to-year.

Those cuts would come from eliminating three elementary school teaching positions, the high school spring play and fall music productions, all equipment purchases and all junior varsity athletic programs. The district would add middle school intramurals to partially make up for the 46 athletic teams that would have to be discontinued should the contingency budget be adopted in lieu of the proposed budget.

In the proposed budget, the school board agreed to use additional money from savings to focus on funding enrichment programs, such as “Arts in Education” assemblies.

The remainder of the $135,000 collected would be placed in a capital fund budget line that would be created for the 2012-13 school year.

Tonight’s meeting starts at 8 p.m. in the high school library. Scroll down to view a complete agenda of tonight’s meeting.

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032012 Agenda Revised