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Seaford Voters Once Again Reject School Budget

District will now be forced to contingency after second spending plan defeat in a month.

For the second time in five weeks, Seaford voters have rejected a school budget proposal and now the district will have to operate on contingency for the first time in five years.

Seaford’s revised spending plan of $54.9 million was voted down Tuesday by 201 votes, 1,479 to 1,278. The budget proposal was $261,623 less than the $55.2 million spending plan voters on May 17.

"The residents of Seaford have spoken and we will follow the direction they have given us for the 2011-12 school year," said Seaford Superintendent Brian Conboy. "This has been a frustrating budget planning process and while I can understand how the residents feel about their school taxes, I am disappointed in the result of this vote."

Tuesday’s rejection by Seaford voters means the district will operate on a contingency or “austerity” budget for the first time since the 2005/06 school year. Under contingency, the budget is only able to be increased 2.26 percent and the district is limited to spending funds on bare essential items. The district will also be required to charge community groups to use its facilities.

The proposed budget increase for the spending plan voted down was 2.43 percent and would have included a jump of 8.43 percent in the tax levy, which is the total amount that a district must raise in property taxes in order to meet expenses. The average Seaford homeowner would have seen an increase of about $558 on their tax bills under the proposal, only a $15 difference from a contingency budget, according to district officials.

Some of the cuts that were included in the proposed budget voted down included $141,000 to middle school athletics, $68,000 in maintenance costs, $80,000 in technology, and $20,000 in security expenses.

The Seaford Board of Education now must cut another $95,394 to get its budget to contingency level. After announcing the results, the school board was discussing holding off on some equipment orders in order to reach contingency level.

The Board of Education has scheduled special meeting for June 29 at the Band Room starting at 7:30 p.m. to adopt the final budget prior to the state's July 1 deadline.

P.R. June 28, 2011 at 02:24 AM
John "..This is not my opinion, but my observation from experience." I would like to examine the resumes of the pool of applicants rather than rely on your observation. Frankly, I question your objectivity here, to put it politely.
John Kojack June 28, 2011 at 02:55 AM
...consolidating local districts has been discussed as a cost saving measure which would save through administrative costs. Many small districts such as Seaford could benefit with lets say merging with a Wantagh S.D. for example..or West babylon with Babylon..Plainedge with Levittown..Ect...and would still keep the identity of the local area/town intact. Point well taken Lorraine on State educational funding!
Mark June 28, 2011 at 10:54 AM
Consolidating admin and superintendent functions is a no brainer and should have been done long ago. Again, why would Conboy and his 4 assistants want that? Parochial School Supers cover dozens and dozens of dozens of schools. Here we have more Supers than schools. We need to organize and insist that this is implemented. There are 1800 of us who voted no, how can we concentrate all these ideas into action. Please email me at Langhorne68@hotmail.com.
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Discussions of merging Wantagh and Seaford have been on the table for years. It would make sense for the boards of both districts to meet and discuss the synergies and to evaluate the cost savings if any.I would personaly hire an outside consultant to do the analysis very similiar to a M&A. Initially there would be investments needed by both districts to initiate the process. While the long term savings may be worth while to both districts you have to realize that the Identity of the community is synomous WITH their schools. That would be the biggest obstacle to overcome. The sense of a loss of identity whether right or worng has been the major factor in why we havent pursued this in earnest in the past. Perhaps the financial crisis in Education will be the mitigating factor that overcomes the animosity and fear of a merge. The time may be right to atleast give it serious consideration.
Lorraine DeVita June 28, 2011 at 11:18 AM
Mark, FIrst you need to form a committe comprised of both members from both communities. Each community would then pettition their respective boards simultaneously to initiate a feasibility study jointly that that would address the issues and to identify synergies and cost savings. Then I would imagine after all the leg work is done and a plan is developed the final step would be for BOTH communities to vote on it. That is a VERY simple overview.. Lorraine DeVita ljdcom@aol.com

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