Kings Park school district held its last budget meeting Tuesday and shared good news with the community as it added wish list items to the budget while still staying below the tax cap limit.
At the final open budget workshop, the district presented an $84.7 million budget that preserves the current curriculum and extra curricular activities while also adding new staff and programs for next year.
Shannon Meehan, the school business administrator, said savings through teacher retirements and extra revenue helped the district craft the 2015-2016 budget with a 2 percent tax levy increase.
“We’re able to maintain all of our curriculum and programs, we’re able to keep all of our extra curricular activities — music, art, sports — stabilize or in some cases reduce our class sizes and propose a [budget] that’s within our tax cap limitations,” Meehan said.
The district is also projecting approval in the next few weeks for an energy performance contract, which is also expected to save money, administrators said. The contract is a comprehensive set of energy efficiency measures, accompanied with guarantees that the savings produced by a project will be sufficient to finance the project, the district said.
The contract was submitted to the New York State Education Department in April 2012 and has been under review. The wait time was blamed on issues caused from Hurricane Sandy.
Under the contract, the district is expected to update its heating system, perform weatherization measures and replace lighting and retrofitting.
The district is projecting a principal and interest payment of $358,082 for the 2015-2016 school year. The cost raised the levy to the maximum allowable amount of 2.27 percent, but the district was able to offset the cost due to the gap elimination adjustment (GEA) restoration the district received.
“We didn’t want to go to our community for more money than we needed. So that is why we didn’t take it to the full 2.27,” Superintendent Timothy Eagen said.
Kings Park will be receiving roughly $750,000 in additional usable state aid as part of the 36 percent GEA restoration and foundation aid. The surplus of money has allowed the district to include its wish-listed items in the budget.
Costing just shy of $400,000 the district will now add a social worker to split time between the high school and R.J.O Intermediate School, purchase much needed musical instruments, add an elementary librarian to R.J.O., add a third grounds man, reduce class size and more.
After the budget presentation the board and audience applauded the new superintendent and thanked him for the budget he helped put together.
“I tip my hat to Dr. Eagen on your first budget here in Kings Park,” Board of Education President Tom LoCascio said. “This is a good budget. This is a fiscally responsible, academically educationally sound budget.”