Miller Place Superintendent Marianne Higuera presented her proposed budget for the 2016-17 school year. The proposed budget of $70,602,887 would be $596,007 higher than the budget for the current school year. All instructional and non-instructional programs from the current school year would remain intact.
“We expect some things might look a little bit different, but we’re not looking to eliminate any programs,” Higuera said following the presentation, which was made by school business official Colleen Card. “We’re not looking to eliminate any teams, any clubs; and we’re going to be able to maintain all of our programs from this year to next year.”
Though the budget would increase by a small amount, the school board unanimously approved a tax levy decrease of 0.14 percent on Feb. 24. That means that the district will have about $62,000 less revenue from tax dollars in 2016-17 compared to the current school year.
Despite less tax revenue, the proposed budget would be balanced by a $3.5 million fund balance and additional state aid thanks to a partial restoration of money lost to the Gap Elimination Adjustment, which deducted about $13 million from funding to Miller Place since its inception several years ago. The adjustment deducted money from districts across New York State as a means to eliminate a deficit. Higuera’s proposed budget accounts for about $20.5 million in state aid.
The district will also benefit from a small amount of required retirement payments this year, Higuera said.
Johanna Testa, president of the board of education, heaped praise on the district’s administration after the presentation.
“Keeping all programs and being able to propose a budget that keeps all of our academic programs and increases our capital project funding when we’re in a negative tax levy cap, that’s really amazing,” Testa said.
The school board and administration will convene again on Mar. 2 for a budget workshop meeting at Miller Place High School. Budget adoption will take place on Mar. 30.