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Monday, April 21, 2014
Hewlett-Woddmere budget to increase by $3.7M
(Page 2 of 3)
Ann E. Friedman/Herald
Kenneth Rochler, a Woodmere resident and the father of four boys in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District, voiced his concerns about the teachers’ contract and its impact on the budget at the public forum on March 21.

Weber said that although the district determines the tax levy — the amount to be raised through property taxes — it is forwarded to the Nassau County assessor, and some property owners will see an increase, and others a decrease. “It’s a strange system,” he said. “The district sets the levy and the county sets what your home is worth. Some homeowners see a $20,000 increase and some a $10,000 decrease in their taxes.”

Parents seek more ways to save

One district parent, Ryan Goldstein, said he was concerned about the $2.7 million increase in employee benefits in the proposed budget. “I don’t see us having adult education, but I also don’t see salary costs being reduced,” he said. “Maybe we should move towards high deductible health insurance and cutting out an employee’s spouse so we can save more money.”

According to Weber, the district has no control over rising health care costs because the state determines how much it will pay. “The only way around that is to leave the state’s health insurance,” he said, “and almost every district in Nassau County stays in the state health insurance, because the advantage is that there are lower increases.”

Weber emphasized that the district has maintained its class sizes and continues to make improvements to its six buildings. “We have a geothermal system at the high school and the middle school, which provides heating, cooling and ventilation,” he explained. “At Hewlett Elementary and Franklin Early Childhood Center there haven’t been renovations since 1993, so we’re looking to add air conditioning to the cafeteria.”

The district’s enrollment is stable, Weber added. “Our class size range has been maintained at the elementary and secondary levels,” he said. “At the beginning of the season, the same amount of class sections are offered, and then there are shifts as class sizes go up and down.”

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