The East Rockaway School district approved its proposed budget of $37.3 million a 1.23 percent increase over the current budget of $36.8 million, and a 1.73 tax levy increase. The tax levy increase is the total amount of money raised through property taxes. This is the maximum allowable tax levy limit as per NYS Law, enacted in 2011. Because the district stayed within the guidelines, the budget will have to be approved by the voters with a simple majority.
“I think for me, the most important thing to communicate to everyone is the quality of education we’re providing for the dollars, and we’re continuing with all current programs, and enhancing others — an we’re doing it all for a 1.23 percent budget-to-budget increase,” said Joan Colvin, the district’s interim director of finance.
Colvin explained that state aid is lower this year because, in 2012-13, the students were bussed to the Baldwin schools after Hurricane Sandy. That state aid came in during the 2013-14 year. Since this is a “walking district,” she explained, the only transportation costs are for special Ed and parochial school students. There are roughly 100 students who use these services.
“That’s almost $200,000 less in state aid — the bulk of the decrease.” She added that when a district spends money, a percentage of that money is reimbursed by the state. “In the last two years, we’ve provided students with services within the district (Bring Students Home), so we get less back because we spent less.”
Propositions 2, 3,4 and 5
The budget is Proposition 1. This year, the East Rockway school district has four other proposals slated for voters’ approval.
Propostion 2 asks the public to approve the funding of building improvement projects from the Capital Reserve Fund for $156,000 and $200,000 for concrete slab replacement reconstruction in the tech building; district-wide heating, asphalt paving, curb and sidewalk replacements and security in connection with the projects.
Proposition 3: The district is seeking to use $120,000 and $200,000 for “smart” classroom projects, network upgrades and replacements, tech lab updates and the replacement of computer hardware, among other projects.