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Seaford School Board Adopts 2012/13 Budget Proposal

Proposed $57.8 million spending plan to be decided by voters on May 17.

Following a long arduous process determining how much to cut and what was an appropriate number to add to reserves, the Seaford Board of Education adopted its budget proposal late Tuesday night that will be put before voters May 15.

The $57.8 million spending plan represents a 5.4 percent increase over the district’s current contingency budget. If approved the tax levy, which is the percent of the budget that must be raised in taxes to meet expenses, would jump 2.5 percent. The district was permitted an allowable tax levy increase of 2.93 percent under a new tax cap law approved by the State Legislature last year but the school board opted to go with a lower number to have a better chance of approving the budget.  

“The most important that we have to make sure that we do is to get a passed budget this year,” said Seaford Superintendent of Schools Brian Conboy at the beginning of Tuesday’s meeting held at . “We have to get out to the public, get out to Seaford and make sure that people understand the necessity for that passed budget.”

Following the budget adoption, district officials had to came up with $335,669 in cuts in order to reach the 2.5 percent tax levy limit. Some of these cuts include one full-time teaching position and reductions to health insurance costs, natural gas and mailings. Athletic Director Tom Condon was also asked to trim an additional $10,000 from his operating budget and a previously planned part-time $14,000 clerical position new hire to assist with transportation was scrapped. The district is also achieving savings from the retirement of an art teacher.

The budget proposal approved by the school board is also aimed at replenishing the district’s reserves. Under the plan approved Tuesday, the percentage of the district’s undesignated reserves would more than double from .6 percent to 1.3 percent. Seaford Board of Education president Brian Fagan stressed that upping the district’s reserves is crucial in terms of avoiding future credit downgrades from ratings agencies like Moody’s and to be more strongly position for future budgeting.

“You want to have reserves to help you on  a rainy day,” Fagan said.

The only program addition to the budget is $88,000 toward technology aimed at directly benefiting students. This includes purchasing new computers at and and is the first part of a five-year plan recommended by the Advisory Committee for Technology.

All cuts for this year’s contingency budget remain including two seasons of middle school sports. The budget proposal includes funding for the spring middle school sports season meaning the fall and winter would need to privately funded. This past year, the fall season was funded and the Save Seaford Sports Committee was able to restore the winter season but  by around $40,000 of funding the spring sports. 

Fagan said he approached the United Teachers of Seaford to see if they would be willing to offer concessions that would avoid some district cuts but the union leadership declined.

The annual Seaford budget hearing is scheduled for May 3 at Seaford High School starting at 7:30 p.m.

Tom April 12, 2012 at 02:08 AM
Last year we asked our local legislators in my district of employment is there might not be money to either incentivize consolidation or study consolidation and we were told ( sadly) no. About 4 month ago, there was a weak effort to encourage consolidation at the high school level, but that discussion seems to have died as well. The other problem is that while I have not studied the matter myself, I am not certain that a Seaford - Plainedge effort, for example, would accomplish much more than saving a Superintendent's salary ($225,000 at most). Transportation costs are currently outrageous. We might be able to close one elementary school, but other than what I have already stated, I doubt that we would achieve the "economies of scale" that many people would anticipate. Again, I have not formally studied the matter, but I think that we would need to accomplish consolidation on a much grander scale for it to be worth the effort and aggravation of doing so. We might try consolidation of certain business functions such as payroll,benefits administration, school lunch programs or transportation. Most districts are already conducting cooperative bidding for supplies. The real problem is that, as you know, the true cost-drivers are salaried employees. I really wonder how the community would initially react/respond to to (even) the prospect of a consolidation?
Tom April 12, 2012 at 02:12 AM
Let's face it, there are currently several Nassau County school districts (such as the several K-5 districts) so small that they shouldn't even exist as constituted, but try telling that to the parents!
Lorraine DeVita April 12, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Tom, Total consolidation would probaly NOT work on so many different levels here. However by consolidating Administration would possibly be a bigger savings then I think you realize. One superintendent One Asst Sup of Business Operations Facilities Transportation Director of Technology Tech support Basically a Central Administration for two separate entities. Yhe logistics would ofcourse have to be studied in depth but the analogy I could offer is" Macys and Bloomindales Two separate entities under one corporate umbrella Chanel and Fekaki Two separate entities under one corporate umbrella There are MULTIPLE corporations with totaly separate business units totaly separate union locals totaly separate identities that are run by one corp office. It does work effectively in a business environment. the principals of business would still apply consolidate the back office functions while keeping each UNIT separate retaining their own identities. But again an indepth study and cost analysis needs to be underaken to insure that the savings justify the merger of administrative functions. AND Thats exactly what it would be a "merger" of administrative functions.
Lorraine DeVita April 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM
To Andrew and the Patch Editorial staff: Perhaps a Patch Poll to see if there is community interest in CONSOLIDATING Administrative/Administrators functions ONLY to reduce costs.
John April 18, 2012 at 04:37 PM
The problem here starts at the top of the food chain. It began with Markle who clearly begana chain of events that this current administration is unable handle. The boards decision to promote inexperienced individuals to the highest adminstrative positions was another mistake. Believe it or not there are districts that are in much better shape because they have much better leaders. Without out change beginning at the top Seaford will continue to be the model for failure in NYS.

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