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Fair,43°
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Hewlett-Woodmere plans 3.4% tax levy hike
School board adopts $109.6M budget
Ann E. Friedman/Herald
Woodmere Middle School eighth-graders Lenny Khazan, Nate Roblin and Jason Rodolitz thanked the Hewlett-Woodmere board for reinstating the Discovery lunch lab.

The Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education adopted a $109.6 million budget on April 24. The spending plan includes the eighth-grade Discovery lunchtime lab program as well as highly attended Community Education courses such as yoga, exercise and Mommy & Me that students and community residents wanted reinstated.

After nearly three hours of budget discussions at the board’s April 17 meeting, the trustees decided to reconvene a week later to adopt the budget, which would increase the tax levy by 3.45 percent — the state’s cap for the district. That increase, more than the 2.49 percent hike that was initially proposed, would raise taxes by $3.24 million.

Though the board establishes the tax levy now, it will not vote on it until August, when more detailed calculations can be made.

Trustee Melissa Gates said it was important for the district to establish funding for the future. “We’re not at the top with 3.45 percent — there are many districts above that,” she said. “We need to put ourselves in the best position possible.”

The district was able to absorb the cost of the eighth grade Discovery lunchtime lab, teacher aide support at Franklin Early Childhood Center and Ogden Elementary School, and clerical assistance at Hewlett Elementary School, while reducing the budget $41,852 from the $109,647,534 that was originally reported, through two additional teacher retirements. “The two [retirements] were unexpected and announced in April, after the staffing budgets had been set,” Dr. Peter Weber, assistant superintendent for business, explained. “The delay in setting the budget allowed the board to take advantage of the new information and use the funding to support some budgetary adjustments, while lowering the overall budget increase.”

The board also voted to set aside $10,000 for CPR training for Hewlett High School seniors, as well as $10,000 to print a calendar, which will be discussed at a later date and would be mailed to district residents in the fall. Though the board voted to cease publication of the school calendar in the 2012-13 school year in an effort to go green, the district printed 1,500 copies for residents.

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