BOARD ADOPTS BUDGET FOR 2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR; TAX LEVY ACTUALLY LOWER THAN LAST YEAR; SPENDING TO INCREASE 2.63%
April 8, 2017 -- After having reviewed the 50 page document at public meetings in February and March, the North Shore Board of Education adopted its 2017-18 school budget proposal this past Thursday night. The $102,113,514.86 spending plan for 2017-18 represents a 2.63% increase over the current year and will allow the district to maintain all current programs and teaching positions, while adding a high school guidance counselor, converting a part-time Social Worker into a full-time position, and creating a .4 teaching position for a music theory class.
On the revenue side of the budget, despite an "inflation factor"of 1.26%, the rate that is used for determining the district's individual tax levy limit, the tax cap for next year is actually down by $9,000, or about 0.01%.
Dr. Melnick stated at the January 26 meeting that last year's removal of LIPA properties from the tax rolls and the subsequent effort to estimate the amount the district would receive from the new PILOTs on those properties greatly complicated the 2016-17 revenue picture. The district, he explained, received about $1 million more in PILOTs on those properties than it anticipated in an estimate it had provided, under the advice of counsel, to the State Comptroller's office. While that estimate allowed for a higher levy limit for 2016-17, that excess amount in PILOTs, under state law, had to be applied to the following year's revenue, which in turn, under the state's formula, reduced the tax levy limit by that amount for 2017-18.
As for state aid, the amount should be higher than originally anticipated, with the Budget Deal announced on Friday, April 7 giving districts across New York state more than what the Governor Andrew Cuomo had originally proposed. Dr. Melnick explained back in January that the district was expecting an increase of slightly more than $900,000 - from $4,417,565 to $5,331,389, based on the Governor's earlier proposal. The New York State budget deal was not announced until after this past Thursday evening's meeting.
Additionally, the District will apply to revenue $1 million of a grant secured a few years ago by Assemblyman Charles Lavine and State Senator Carl Marcellino to mitigate the impact on residents of any tax shift resulting from the demolition of the Glenwood Landing Power Plant. Ms. Buatsi said at previous meetings that about $5.1 million of that grant still remains for use in future budgets.
Complicating the spending side of the budget is the fact that teachers are currently without a contract. Dr. Melnick stated at the January 26 meeting that under the Triboro Amendment to New York State's Taylor Law, the district must factor into the budget salary changes due to step increases and lane changes, "and then we have to estimate an across the board."
The public will have the opportunity to vote on the budget and tax levy on May 16.
BACK TO WEEKLY
OTHER NEWS FROM THE 4.6.17 BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETING
LAC NOT LACKING DIRECTION
North Shore School District Legislative Action Committee Chairperson Deborah McDermott presented an update on the board appointed committee's recent work and its plans moving forward into the next year.
She had previously submitted to the board for approval a draft copy of a letter to Commissioner of Education Elia regarding unfunded mandates as well as thank you letters to legislators who participated in a Legislative Breakfast on March 9 hosted by SuperLAC, a collaboration with the Garden City and Manhasset School Districts.
As far as legislation is concerned, she said that the committee would like to advocate for a bill that has been introduced in the State Senate by Senator Carl Marcellino (R-5th Senate District) that would allow districts to maintain a Teachers Retirement System Reserve fund that could be tapped when there are spikes in pension costs.
At the federal level, Ms. McDermott, expressed concerns about a bill introduced by Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King that would gut the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that, among other things, created Title IX funding for schools that serve impoverished students, as well as the federal free and reduced rate school lunch program. Dr. Melnick said that District Counsel would look into whether the legislation "has legs," before the board would give direction regarding the legislation.
Lastly, she said that the committee wanted to make some changes to its website to make its "Elected Officials" information less confusing, and that it would like to host a legislative night in October at which the state Senators and Assemblymen representing the district as well as County Legislator Delia DeRiggi Whitton can answer questions from community members regarding issues affecting the North Shore School District community. The last legislative night was held in the fall of 2015.
Three LAC members have announced that they will be leaving - Amy Beyer, Marty Glennon, and Christine Hughes. The Board agreed to post notices on the District Website and in the local media announcing that it will accept applications for the positions with the hope that they can be filled by early June.