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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
School News
No budget cuts planned in District 13

While many school districts on Long Island will be cutting programs and staff next year, District 13 is expected to maintain the status quo. In the first budget presentation to the Board of Education and public on Feb. 13, administrators proposed a spending plan that would keep everything in tact.

“We will continue all of our programs as is,” said Superintendent Dr. Adrienne Robb-Fund. “We are very pleased that we don’t have to touch opportunities for students.”

The tentative $44.6 million budget would raise spending by 3.3 percent, or about $1.4 million.

The district’s allowable tax levy increase is 3.89 percent under the tax-cap legislation. The proposed budget meets that figure, meaning that only a simple majority would be needed to pass the budget in May.

District 13 is benefitting from several exclusions that allows it to raise tax collections beyond 2 percent. The district’s tax base has increased, likely from the more units at the Dutchgate senior complex in North Valley Stream coming onto the tax rolls. Also, about a half-million dollars in retirement costs are exempt from the cap, as is some money for capital projects.

Board of Education President Jeanne Greco Jacobs said board members asked administrators to prepare a budget that met the tax cap, while doing their best to maintain programs. They did just that, she explained.

The preliminary budget plan also includes about $488,000 for various capital projects at the four schools. “We do have a close eye on facilities,” Greco Jacobs said, adding that the buildings are aging and can’t be neglected.

Work would include the replacement of several doors at the four schools, blacktop repairs at the Howell Road and Willow Road schools, and the replacement of the Willow Road gymnasium roof. Some of the projects are being funded over two of three budget cycles so the district doesn’t have to borrow money.

It is expected that Nassau County will no longer cover the school portion of tax refunds. District 13 will set aside about $170,000 next year to pay successful challenges. That figure is based on a five-year average of past tax refunds the county has paid back for the district.

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