F.S. school district expects few cuts


Franklin Square Elementary School District officials say they do not expect any significant budget cuts as they anticipate the finalization of the budget for voter approval on May 21. Superintendent Patrick Manley said that the district will not exceed the allowable tax levy increase of 3.37 percent, and that any budget increase will be attributable more to retirement system expenses than the school district’s operational costs.

The district plans to increase its budget 2.49 percent for 2013-14, or $859,000 over this year’s $34.4 million.

Manley said that, at most, there would be a reduction of one or two teaching positions due to lower enrollment projected for next year.

There is a proposal for a pre-kindergarten program in the new budget. Manley said that the last remaining unknown for the budget is the amount of state aid. The governor’s proposal calls for a state aid reduction of nearly $91,000. This year’s state aid amounted to just under $6.5 million.

“The challenges facing Franklin Square stem mostly from increases in mandated retirement system contribution,” Manley wrote in an email. “Our increase in operational expenses is driven by the new pre-kindergarten program. Increases in non-operational expenses such as the retirement system are driving the majority of the tax levy increase.”

Manley said that $125,000 from Franklin Square’s retirement system reserve is being allocated to offset some of that increase and will continue to do so for the next two years. In accordance with past practices, Manley said that this allocation is for maintenance and improvement of the district’s schools.

“We always allocate funds for facility maintenance and upgrades,” said Manley. “We are proposing a capital outlay to upgrade our wireless network in anticipation of the mandate to provide an electronic platform for our students to take the state exams.”