At the January and February District 30 Board of Education meetings, Assistant Superintendent for Business Chris Dillon presented a proposed 2018 – 19 budget that represented a slight increase from the current budget. The district proposed a budget of $35,484,728, representing a year-over-year hike of 1.9 percent.
“At the end of the day, our budget-to-budget will probably be one of the lowest around in Nassau County,” Dillon said at a Board of Education meeting on Feb. 12.
Driving the increase is a 10 percent increase in health care costs for employees, and additions to support staff, as well as debt service payments. The district will also add the instructional aid Google Expeditions, a virtual reality headset, to the classrooms.
“Virtual reality will engage our students in active learning designed to help them understand complex real world experiences,” said Dr. Roxanne Garcia France, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
The tax levy, or the total amount that the district can collect to meet expenses, for the 2018 – 19 school year will be roughly $22,240,000, for an increase of 13.7 percent year-over-year.
“We’re in a readjustment year, and when I say readjustment picture a ‘U,’” Dillon said by way of explanation for the dramatic increase in the tax levy. “We were in the negatives in the past two years, and this year, we are going on an incline.”
Dillon told the Herald that the district is not able to predict what the average homeowner will pay in taxes for the 2018 – 19 school year, due to the various PILOT payments that the district receives. “It’s up to the county in the end,” he said, because it is the county that assesses property values.
But even with the nearly 14 percent increase, the district is collecting $4 million less in tax money than it did before the signing of the Green Acres Mall IDA agreement, because it is using reserve funds. At this year’s budget vote, there will once again be a proposition to add another reserve fund. “We use any savings that we have,” said district superintendent Dr. Nicholas Stirling.
The district will present its final proposals for the budget at a hearing on May 7 at 8 p.m. at the Shaw Avenue School.