Despite a projection to receive a lesser percentage increase of state aid than other Long Island school districts, Seaford is in a far stronger position than a year ago in preparing a budget to put before voters this May.
State aid figures released by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week show Seaford receiving $136,602 in additional funds from Albany, a 1.69 percent increase from last year. While this figure is less than the average Nassau County district state funding increase of 3.2 percent, Seaford superintendent Brian Conboy explained during his administrative report at Thursday night’s Board of Education meeting that a higher than expected amount of building aid from Albany will provide a major boost. When factoring in the building aid, which was provided thanks to projects completed from Seaford’s 2007 $21.5 million capital improvements bond, the increase from Albany is at 22 percent, the highest in Nassau County.
“The building aid number that we got was higher than I expected, a good deal higher,” said Conboy during his administrative report at Thursday’s Board of Education meeting held at . “We're happy about [the building aid increase] but at the same time we’re very concerned that other aid number wasn’t larger.”
Seaford’s building aid number released this week is $2.2 million compared with $513,000 the district received last year. Conboy said as a result of the extra building aid and increased revenue, Seaford is looking at an estimated $552,000 to cut in order to preserve all current programs and staff compared to $2.2 million they were faced with trying to slash a year ago after the district lost $1.6 million in Gov. Cuomo’s budget.
As a result of a new property tax bill last year, Seaford along with all districts throughout the state is limited to raising its tax levy 2 percent plus allowable exceptions, which includes some mandated retirement expenses. In Seaford’s case, the maximum tax levy increase when factoring in allowable exceptions is estimated to be 2.44 percent, according to Conboy. This would equate to a 5.38 percent budget-to-budget increase if the school board opted to go that route, Conboy said.
Some of the known increases Seaford is faced with when crafting its budget proposal include medical costs, retirement expenses, workers compensation and debt repayment for the 2007 bond, Conboy said during his administrative report.
Last year, Seaford voters rejected proposed spending plans on and forcing the district to operate on a contingency budget for the first time in six years. Seaford’s current operating budget is $54.8 million.