Northport residents were given an overview of a proposed finalized school district budget for the 2019-20 school year at the April 11 board of education meeting. Plans include important capital projects that the district will look to pursue in the upcoming school year.
The overall budget figure totals $171,397,668 — an over $4.5 million and 2.75 percent increase from last year’s amount. The district will see a projected tax levy cap of 2.78 percent and the levy amount would increase by over $4 million.
“We’ve been on this budget process for about two months,” Superintendent Robert Banzer said. “We’re at the point when we will be rapping it up.”
The proposed tax levy would result in an increase of property tax rates of $187.918 per $100 of assessed valuation.
This year’s budget amount will help cover expansion of integrated co-teaching model at elementary and high schools, funds for ongoing security expansion including the implementation of a smart card ID system, funds for extra/co-curricular and athletic programs. Also there will be improvements to instructional technology with more Chromebook laptops in classrooms and there will be a “future study” done that will look at the future demographics and capacity of the school district.
Debt services increased $1 million compared to last year due in part to two major payments. One is a bond payment, which has gone up close to $770,000. The other is a tax anticipation note that has increased to $300,000.
The district for the upcoming school year will be receiving $16,130,805 in state aid, which is slightly more than they expected to receive in Gov. Cuomo’s first executive budget.
“This has changed since the last time we spoke,” Banzer said. “We got a little bit more in state aid.”
The district used the funds from state aid to reduce the tax levy amount to the most recent 2.78 percent figure.
Banzer proposed a general fund budget of $936,750 for capital projects in the upcoming school year. Roof repairs and replacement districtwide total $616,750. Asphalt, concrete and drainage repairs total $320,000.
The superintendent also proposed to use $1.8 million from the capital reserve fund for additional asphalt, concrete and drainage repairs as well as traffic reconfiguration at the entrance of Northport High School. These projects will need resident’s approval come May.
“We had to prioritize some projects,” Banzer said. “There remains other work to be done and we understand that.”
Also discussed at the board meeting was the ongoing LIPA situation.
“This is really important to understand, there has been a lot of questions,” Banzer said.
The school district has been involved in the third-party beneficiary case regarding LIPA alleged breaking a promise by seeking to reduce its power plant’s taxes by 90 percent. The district has also been in mediation with the Town of Huntington, LIPA and a third-party neutral attorney.
Residents most recently held a public rally against LIPA earlier this month.
The next Northport school board meeting on May 9 at 7 p.m. will be a public hearing to discuss the finalized budget at the William J. Brosnan School Building, located at 158 Laurel Ave. The budget vote is slated for May 21.