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Sunday, November 23, 2014
Hewlett-Woddmere budget to increase by $3.7M
Adult education cut from proposed $109.53M plan
Ann E. Friedman/Herald
Kenneth Rochler, a Woodmere resident and the father of four boys in the Hewlett-Woodmere School District, voiced his concerns about the teachers’ contract and its impact on the budget at the public forum on March 21.

Susette Prezios, the mother of three Hewlett-Woodmere students, attended the district’s public budget forum on March 21 and said that the decision to eliminate adult education programs in 2013-14 would have a negative impact on the community in which she grew up.

“Our community is dwindling,” Prezios said. “While I’m happy to hear that we’re keeping the children’s programs, not having adult education will pull apart our community.”

The district’s tentative 2013-14 budget is $109.53 million, $3.7 million more than its current spending plan. The Board of Education is scheduled to adopt the budget on April 17, and the public vote is set for May 21.

Dr. Peter Weber, assistant superintendent for business, said that the district’s main focus is to support children’s education, and that eliminating adult education would save the district nearly $398,000. “This will impact everyone — people win, people lose, and we recognize that,” Weber said. “The only way to cover [adult education] is to take from the reserves we need for the future. We could take funds out of the reserves quickly or slowly, but there will be no place left to turn once the money is gone.”

Out of the district’s control

Diminishing state aid and unfunded mandates continue to be financial burdens for school districts, Superintendent Dr. Joyce Bisso said, adding that Hewlett-Woodmere has been preparing for more than a decade to survive these difficult times by using less reserve money. Next year, the district is expected to receive $203,395 more in state aid. “We’re looking to maintain the programs in our district, professional development, sports teams, opportunities for enrichment and continuing services for those with disabilities,” Bisso said.

She added that the district’s tax-levy cap, according to a state formula, will be 2.49 percent. A budget with a tax levy increase greater than that must be approved by a supermajority of at least 60 percent of voters.

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