By Giselle Barkley

Rocky Point school district will be spending half of its budget on the teachers, classes and programs, while spending the least amount on debt service and fund transfers.
Rocky Point school district will be spending half of its budget on the teachers, classes and programs, while spending the least amount on debt service and fund transfers.

Taxpayers in Rocky Point school district may see rebate checks from the government, thanks to Rocky Point school district’s 2016-17 budget proposal.

Rocky Point Superintendent of Schools Michael Ring held the final budget presentation on March 21, announcing that the district’s $80.6 million budget will help maintain the existing instructional, athletic and co-curricular programs, while also working to tackle improvements in the buildings and campuses, like fence and parking lot repairs, and increasing the number of cafeteria tables and cameras across the campus.

Although Ring said the district is confident it will receive money from the Gap Elimination Adjustment restoration, Rocky Point will currently receive $25.2 million in regular state aid, with the possibility of an increase, depending on the results of a vote to restore funds from the GEA. According to Ring, the district receives most of its revenue from tax levies. Residents will see an approximate 0.75 percent increase year over year in the tax levy in the district. Despite the increase, the district’s budget falls within the 0.12 percent tax cap. In light of the limited tax cap, the district only increased its budget by 2.34 percent.

“We believe that the budgets we have presented in previous years and [the one] we’re presenting this year are efficient and effective,” Ring said. “Efficient in that the level of expenditures is very conservative and within the tax cap, and effective because they continue to hold our programs together, both instructionally and co-curricular.”

Rocky Point’s instructional programs, which include courses for general and special education, make up around 50 percent of the district’s budget, followed by employee benefits, among other categories.

“I think this is a place to give every student an opportunity to succeed,” said Scott Reh, vice president of Rocky Point’s board of education.

The superintendent echoed Reh’s stance during the meeting regarding Rocky Point students.

“Success for our students is at the intersection of many roads, and these roads are the main components of our budget,” Ring said. “These many roads are represented by the breadth and depth of academic programs, instructional supports, and co-curricular opportunities we offer in order to allow each of our students to excel.”

Residents who are at least 18 years old and have lived in the school district for at least 30 days are eligible to vote. Community members can vote on the budget on Tuesday May 17, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the high school gymnasium. Community members can register to vote by calling the District Clerk, Patricia Jones, at 631-849-7243.

If the budget doesn’t pass, the district would have to cut around $360,000 from the proposal. Ring added that the board would also have to eliminate new additions to the budget and restrict the public’s use of various school facilities, to reduce the district’s expenditures. A contingency budget would still help the district fund new projects and maintain old programs.

“The Board of Education remained steadfast in its commitment to develop a financial plan that not only supported our district’s current educational and co-curricular offerings, but also provided for instructional enhancements geared toward further preparing today’s students to become tomorrow’s leaders,” President of Rocky Point Board of Education Susan Sullivan said. “The Board believes that the proposed budget not only meets this mission, but also supports our commitment to taxpayers by staying within the confines of the New York State tax cap.”

This version corrects information about the Rocky Point school district’s contingency budget.