The Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education voted to adopt a $109.6 million budget, which included the reinstatement of the eighth-grade Discovery lunch lab program, as well as highly attended Community Education courses such as yoga, exercise and Mommy & Me.
Following nearly three hours of budget discussions at the Hewlett-Woodmere Board of Education’s April 17 meeting, the board decided to reconvene on Wednesday to adopt the budget as well as a greater tax levy increase than the 2.49 percent hike that was first reported.
According to Dr. Peter Weber, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, two factors precipitated a rise in the tax levy increase to 3.45 percent: construction and renovation costs for facilities or equipment, and funds provided through legislative initiatives.
The school district decided to use funds provided by State Sen. Dean Skelos and Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg for the installation of a greenhouse in the courtyard at Woodmere Middle School. According to the State Education Department, this type of funding for construction must be reflected in tax levy calculations.
The district must also estimate how much it will pay various contractors this and next year, and include those totals in the tax levy calculation. Last year, the district paid a contracting company to do heating, ventilation and air conditioning work at Woodmere Middle School before the company declared bankruptcy. According to Weber, on April 17 the district learned that it was unlikely that it would get any money back from the company — or that the work would be completed before mid-June.
A tax levy increase of 3.45 percent — the state’s cap for the district — would raise taxes by $3.24 million.
“Approximately half of the Nassau County districts either have, or are expected to, take the full limit as provided by law,” Weber said. “Last year, the limit for Hewlett-Woodmere was 1.91 percent, and that was the final levy.”