Seaford residents let their voices be heard Tuesday by voting down the school district’s proposed $55.2 million budget by a vote of 1,881 to 1,448.
The proposed budget increase was 2.92 percent and would have included a tax levy hike of 8.99 percent. The average Seaford homeowner would have seen an increase of about $600 on their tax bills under the proposal, according to district officials.
The Seaford Board of Education must now decide whether to resubmit a revised budget proposal to the voters or operate under a contingency budget. According to New York State Education Law § 2007, a budget re-vote must be held the third Tuesday in June. If the budget is defeated twice, the board must adopt a contingency or "austerity" budget, which in Seaford’s case would mean a 2.26 percent increase from the district’s current spending plan.
Under a contingency budget the average Seaford homeowner would see about a $544 increase in their tax bill, according to district officials. The last time Seaford operated on a contingency budget was the 2005-06 school year.
Following the budget defeat the board scheduled a workshop meeting for this Monday to discuss whether to propose a revised budget to the voters on June 21.
Seaford voters also re-elected incumbent board trustees Richard DiBlasio and Brian Fagan with 2,278 and 2,157 votes, respectively. The other candidate in the at-large race, Lauren Phillips, garnered 957 votes.
Also on the ballot were two referendums, which were both rejected. One referendum, which asked permission from voters to use $596,719 in remaining funds from the bond issued in 2007 to an access road at , received 1,604 no votes and 1,366 yes votes. The other referendum, which asked voters to modify mileage limits for middle and high school students, failed with 1,819 no votes and 1,098 voting yes.
"I'm speechless," said Seaford Superintendent Brian Conboy after the results were announced.
"We've got a lot of work ahead of us," added DiBlasio.
Check back tomorrow for detailed coverage of the budget vote.