After a nearly four and half hour meeting last night, the Seaford Board of Education adopted its proposed budget just before the stroke of midnight that will head to the voters on May 17.
The adopted budget proposal of $55.2 million represents a 2.92 percent increase over the district’s current spending plan. The tax levy, which is the total amount that a district must raise in property taxes in order to meet expenses, would rise 8.99 percent if the budget is approved.
Some of the cuts in the budget proposal include 10 teaching positions and the seventh grade volleyball and basketball teams. Under an original draft budget proposal presented early at yesterday’s meeting all middle school athletic programs were to be eliminated. However district officials crunched the numbers and determined a way to maintain the teams by adding additional funding for projected retirements.
“Middle school sports is as important to this community as varsity sports,” said Seaford school board member Michael Sapraicone prior to the budget adoption during the meeting held at .
The budget proposal includes the district’s marching band camp, varsity winter track and winter cheerleading, all of which were considered for cuts during the budget process. The spending plan also upgrades the the district's technology infastructure including 197 new apple computers.
Under the adopted budget proposal the average Seaford homeowner would see an estimated $600 increase in their tax bill, a $46 difference from what it would be if voters reject the spending plan and the district is forced to operate on austerity. Under austerity the budget would only be able to rise 2.26 percent and the district may be forced to cut its full-day kindergarten to a half-day program and eliminate all middle school athletic teams as well as instrumental music at the fourth grade level, according to district officials.
“We worked diligently to preserve as much as we could while trying to minimize the effect on the residents of Seaford,” said Board of Education president Brian Fagan.
Seaford is faced with having a higher than usual tax levy this year due in large part to the district projected to lose $1.5 million in state aid and $76,000 in revenue from the Seaford Avenue School where a Nassau County BOCES program ended their lease last year. The district is also faced with an increase in its operating expenses of $1.7 million in salaries and benefits. A status-quo budget with no cuts would have involved a 7 percent increase.
"The 2011/2012 school year I hope, I pray is a year if we have to suffer though it, our first reaction should be to restore ourselves from it and we have to budget appropriately to do that," said Seaford Superintendent Brian Conboy.
Also scheduled to appear on the May 17 ballot will be two referendums. One would authorize the district to construct an access road at the with $596,719 left over from a capital improvement proposition that was approved in December 2007. The other referendum would reduce bussing mileage to .8 of a mile for high school and middle school students.