Capital reserve fund also passes

Locust Valley passes district budget

Three new trustees and incumbent Lauren Themis win election


The Locust Valley Central School District budget passed on Tuesday, while Matthew Barnes, Holly Gaddy Esteves and Nicholas DellaFera were elected and Lauren Themis was reelected to the Board of Education. This has come after a tumultuous year for the district, which lost its superintendent and board president within only a few months of each other.

The budget passed with a total of 1,294 votes for and 865 against, while the second proposition (the budget technically being the first proposition) passed with 1,216 for and 529 against. The third proposition, the Locust Valley Library tax levy for Locust Valley residents only, passed with 640 "Yes" votes against 207 "No" votes.

The district increased the tax levy by two percent, for a total increase of roughly $1.7 million dollars, which was .61 percent under the maximum allowable number. This brought the total cost of the budget up to roughly $94 million dollars, and will be used to cover the rising costs of health insurance and benefits for teachers and staff, which have continued to rise throughout the last few years.

The district’s administration claimed that they were able to keep the tax levy relatively low thanks to their management of alternate revenue streams, such as by acquiring state aid, managing interest earnings and working with businesses in the area such as the Long Island Power Authority. All told, the district was able to raise roughly $7.5 million from alternate revenue streams, which helped reduce their need to rely on district taxpayers.

Additionally, residents also voted to pass the second proposition, which will allow the district to establish a capital reserve fund. A capital reserve fund is used to pay for short-term and occasionally unexpected yet essential expenses, such as repairing damaged buildings or replacing aging equipment.

Members of the district’s administration, including Toni Meliambro, assistant superintendent for business affairs and human resources, have pushed for the adoption of a capital reserve fund throughout the budget process. She and others argued that a capital reserve fund is essential for addressing future projects the district may face, such as upgrading playground equipment in the elementary schools and replacing the middle school roof.

Funds to create a capital reserve don’t come from the tax levy or from raising more money from district residents, but instead, are drawn from the budget’s surplus at the end of each scholastic year.

The Locust Valley Board of Education now counts three new members, with Barnes and Esteves serving full terms while DellaFera will only serve until next year’s election. This is because DellaFera is filling the spot of Brian Nolan, the former president of the board who left partway through the year due to personal issues.