It would be difficult nowadays not to endorse a school budget that adheres to state guidelines, established in 2011, limiting a school district’s tax levy increase to approximately 2 percent or the increase in the cost of living, whichever is lower.
East Rockaway School District officials have approved their proposed 2014-15 budget of $37.3 million, a 1.23 percent increase over the current spending plan, which has a tax levy increase of 1.73 percent, and we encourage voters to give it their approval next Tuesday.
The district is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, but is keeping its head above water while maintaining and even adding new programs and services, and that is no small accomplishment.
The Board of Education is also asking the public to approve, in addition to the budget, four propositions that will have no impact on their taxes. Proposition 2 would use money in the capital reserve fund to make improvements to the tech building, to upgrade heating systems district-wide and for asphalt paving and curb and sidewalk replacements.
Proposition 3 would fund network upgrades and replacements, tech lab updates and the replacement of computer hardware, among other projects.
Proposition 4 would establish a separate reserve fund for building repairs and improvements totaling $2 million over the next 10 years. The fund would be built with transfers of surpluses from the district’s general fund in years when the unassigned fund balance exceeds $200,000.
Proposition 5 would set up a third reserve fund, this one for technology replacement, also for $2 million over 10 years, with similar stipulations.
These measures, along with a five-year plan that the district’s new superintendent, Lisa Ruiz, intends to implement in the fall, are prudent, but also allow for growth in the district. They, too, deserve residents’ support.
Schloth and Gamache are unopposed
Neil Schloth is seeking a third term on the East Rockaway Board of Education. Having served two terms as its president, he is well respected and knowledgeable on an array of issues in the district.
Since current Trustee Linda Schmidt is not running for re-election, Keith Gamache, an educator, has thrown his hat into the ring. Over the past few years he has become a familiar face at school board and budget meetings, and we believe he will be a positive addition to the board.
Despite the lack of challengers, we hope voters will show their support for Schloth and Gamache on Tuesday.