May 12, 2011 | 1131 views
School vote 2011
Voters to decide on $181.2M East Meadow school budget
Voters in the East Meadow School District will decide on a $181.2 million budget proposal on Tuesday — a financial plan that boasts a near record-low 1.73 percent increase in spending while preserving school programs, jobs and class sizes.
District administrators recently wrapped up their traditional month-long tour of budget presentations with PTAs and other community groups and organizations. Unlike recent years, however, there were no other campaigns this season, because Board of Education Trustees Joe Danenza and Corey Fanelli, whose one-year terms are up, are running unopposed.
As the vote approached, budget supporters said they hoped the cooled-down atmosphere would not negatively impact turnout. “I’m always worried about low voter turnout,” said Brian O’Flaherty, president of the school board, which adopted the budget on April 8. “This is not the year for voter apathy.” O’Flaherty said he was urging voters to continue their tradition of supporting the school budget, which steers clear of cuts for 2011-12.
Facing continued cuts in state aid and skyrocketing pension and health costs, other districts on Long Island have turned to layoffs and the elimination of programs. East Meadow, in contrast, incorporated funds from its unrestricted reserve budget to make up for a $3.5 million reduction in state aid. District officials maintain that it is in better shape than others, but cautioned that if the state continues to make major cuts in education aid, difficult decisions may have to be made in the future.
For now, however, Superintendent Louis DeAngelo says he is proud of the budget being put before the voters. “The proposed spending plan preserves all current educational programs for students, maintains current class size and staffing levels, and preserves all music, athletic and co-curricular activities,” DeAngelo said. “We believe that this budget reflects our best efforts to preserve programs and services which are essential to student success, and maintains our shared investment in the district’s schools.”