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Shoreham-Wading River officials propose $75.9 million budget for 2019-20

The Shoreham-Wading River School District has released a $75.9 million proposed budget for the 2019-20 academic year. 

The proposal, announced last month, is a 1.57 percent increase from last year’s $74.7 million adopted budget.

For the upcoming academic year, the tax levy is expected to be 2.94, just roughly $10,000 under the allowable state tax cap limit of 2.96 percent, said Glen Arcuri, assistant superintendent for finance and operations.

Superintendent Gerard Poole wrote in an email last Monday that over the past eight years, the district has had an average tax levy of 1.80 percent with two years seeing a tax levy decrease. Last year, Mr. Arcuri said, the district saw a negative tax levy.

Mr. Arcuri said if the building aid provided by the state hadn’t been decreased since last year, the cap would have been at 2.17 percent.

The majority of the proposed budget will be put toward employee salaries and benefits, totaling $53 million. The district separated employee salaries and benefits into separate categories during a Feb. 26 budget presentation.

About $4.7 million will be put into district-wide expenses. Mr. Poole said the funding in this area includes purchasing the new high school auditorium band shell, funding supplies for the middle school greenhouse, and paying for contractual and related business office services.

Debt and transfer expenditures in the district account for $4.3 million. This includes taxes on anticipatory notes, interest and principal payments for energy performance contracts and payment for the 2015 Voter Approved Bond Referendum, which funded the various renovations and additions throughout the district.

Special education expenditures will increase by 13.2 percent from last year’s adopted budget. The district plans to spend $3.7 million on special education needs.

Roughly $4.8 million will pay for transportation expenditures, which encompasses school buses, field trips, athletic programs, special education transportation needs and security cameras inside buses.

An additional $2.9 million will go toward facilities and $1.1 million to technology. Mr. Poole said this year’s budget will provide Chromebooks to all high school students in addition to other technological advances.

Curriculum and staff development, athletics, community programs, health services and personnel expenditures will total roughly $1 million.

The details of these expenditures, along with the facilities and technology categories, will be addressed at the Tuesday, March 26, board meeting.

As previously reported by the News-Review, the district will receive a proposed $10.3 million in state aid without building aid — a decrease of 0.47 percent.

Last month, Mr. Poole released a statement on the school’s website following the release of the governor’s executive budget. Mr. Poole said the decrease does not reflect the rising cost in all areas of district operations.

“Long Island communities, including Shoreham-Wading River, receive a disproportionate amount of school aid when compared to our contribution to New York State’s budget,” he wrote. “It is only fair to the Shoreham-Wading River community that foundation aid increases reflect rising costs and support the continuance of all of our programming for students.”

In an email Monday he wrote, “This year’s budget allows us to maintain all of our current outstanding programming and includes several enhancements in the areas of safety, curriculum, the fine arts, extracurricular opportunities and athletics.”

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