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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Sewanhaka to cut $3.3M to meet cap
District officials’ proposal includes eliminating 23 teaching positions
Vikas Girdhar

Sewanhaka Central High School District officials are projecting budget cuts of more than $3.27 million at the district’s five high schools as they prepare to finalize the 2013-14 spending plan for an April 4 vote by the Board of Education.

The proposed reductions, which include the elimination of 23 teaching positions and 10 administration jobs, would allow the preliminary tax levy increase of 5.8 percent to be reduced to the tax-cap limit of 3.28 percent.

The district, which includes Elmont Memorial High School and H. Frank Carey High in Franklin Square, will receive $922,000 more in state aid than this year’s $26.2 million. Even with the increase, however, state aid will fall well short of the $30.5 million the district received in 2009-10. Administrators are also proposing the elimination of 10 teaching assistantpositions, five clerical jobs, a reorganization of night and security supervision and a restructuring of the district’s English as a Second Language program. If all these cuts are made, the tax levy will be 3.24 percent.

District officials are also projecting rising costs for pensions and insurance in 2013-14. Employee health care premiums are expected to increase by 7.8 percent, teachers’ retirement costs by 4.41 percent, and non-teaching staff retirement costs by 2 percent. The budget proposal also calls for the use of $3 million in reserve funds, which would leave a balance of $5.1 million.

School officials said they would preserve or enhance music and art programs, clubs, interscholastic athletics, the district music festival, sports night, late buses, a driver-education program, student support programs, Advanced Placement classes and elective courses.

As long as the spending plan does not exceed the state tax cap, it will require only a simple majority voters to approve it on May 21.

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