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Hewlett-Woodmere school budget reduced by $840,000

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With less than two months until the budget and trustee vote, the Hewlett-Woodmere School District’s Board of Education approved the proposed 2021-22 budget that is a near 2 percent spending increase from the current fiscal plan.

A public hearing for the proposal was held in the Hewlett High School auditorium on March 23. Assistant Superintendent for Business Marie Donnelly presented the updated proposal, which came in at $129,358,256, a $2,475,624 and 1.95 increase from the current budget. The tax levy increased by 1.95 percent. The proposal was approved by the board at a March 25 work meeting.

Donnelly said the proposed budget was reduced by $840,000 from the preliminary plan discussed at the Jan. 28 meeting. “We have a number of goals we seek to achieve when creating a budget,” she said. “This includes creating a balanced budget that maintains programs for students while also staying within the tax cap.” Donnelly added that the district is expected to receive $12,452,898 in state aid, a $47,265 increase from the current budget.

According to Donnelly, the anticipated tax levy — the amount of money the district collects from property taxes — is $108,341,484. “We wanted this budget to be sensitive to what’s going on with the pandemic,” she said. “We did what we could to make sure this was a palatable budget for all.”

District Superintendent Dr. Ralph Marino Jr. said that the process of putting the proposal together informally began last summer. “We normally started in October and each month, we’ve been working on the budget piece by piece,” he said. “A lot of meetings regarding this budget took place. Were very excited for all the things we’ve put together that will continue to support the programs and services that our community has come to want from us.”

Board President Debra Sheinin said after the meeting that the proposal is a well-balanced one. “Educating the future for the future is part of our Hewlett Woodmere schools’ mission statement which certainly drives us to a commitment to provide the most comprehensive school budget,” Sheinin said. “I believe that the 2021-2022 budget strikes the appropriate balance between maintaining our excellent high level of services and programs all the while being sensitive to our taxpayers.”

The deadline to register to vote is May 6. Voting on May 11 will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Woodmere Education Center, 1 Johnson Place, Woodmere. More information on the budget and election can be found at https://bit.ly/3cyJsKH.