As a resident with two children in the West Hempstead public schools, I, like so many other parents, have awaited the details of the proposed DRAFT school budget (Published Mar. 6) and its potential effect on programs, teachers, sports, contracts, clubs, etc.. I also try to be very keen to the proposed tax levy and how it affects my personal finances. To date and as still published on the district website (www.whufsd.com), the proposed DRAFT tax levy is 3.06 percent. (The 3.06 percent increase represents the increase from $39,843,764 from the adjusted 2011-2012 budget to $41,062,979 from the proposed 2012-2013 budget, which is a difference of $1,219,215 dollars or a 3.06 percent increase.)
There have been two budget meetings so far with little change and the proposed DRAFT tax levy remains at 3.06 percent. Having said this, let’s look at what an increase of 2.5 percent MIGHT look like while still keeping programs, teachers, clubs, sports, etc. as proposed in the original DRAFT proposed budget.
So again we start with the district’s published adjusted 2011-2012 budget number of $39,843,764 and we multiply that by .025 (2.5 percent) and we get $996,094. We add $39,843,764 + $996,094 and we get $40,839,858 or a proposed 2.5 percent increase for 2012-2103. This $996,094 is $223,121 LESS THAN the proposed increase of $1,219,215. Another way stated is that the $223,121 represents the difference between a 3.06 percent tax levy and a 2.5 percent tax levy.
Under Closing, Unassigned Fund Balance at the bottom of page 11, according to the financial information published on the District website, it states that “…the District will begin the 2011-2012 fiscal year with an unassigned fund balance of $3,096,309. This is an increase of $1,260,409 over the unassigned fund balance from the prior year.” Unfortunately, at this time, I do not have current Year-to-Date 2011-2012 Unassigned Fund Balances.
Remember…we’re simply trying to understand how we could reduce the proposed budget by $223,121 to get to 2.5 percent. So…here are four options one might consider:
- Option 1: Mathematically, we could tap these Unassigned Funds by $223,121 more and we get to 2.5 percent.
- Option 2: Let's take the difference. Tap the Unassigned Funds by only $100,000 and find $123,121 to remove in the proposed budget. This could be done by simply finding 123 large dollar proposed budgeted line items and reducing those lines by $1,000.
- Option 3: Again, let's take the difference. Tap the Unassigned Funds by $123,121 and find $100,000 to remove in the proposed budget. This could be done by simply finding 50 LARGE dollar proposed budgeted line items and reducing those lines by $2,000.
- Option 4: If you think the school budget could be “padded,” reduce $223,121 entirely from the budget.
I like Options 2 and 3. Do you think these are reasonable options considering future liablities and projected deficits? What are your thoughts?
Thanks for reading. If I have misstated or miscalculated, I certainly apologize in advance. This is my opinion and my analysis, and I ask that you please check my math and to please advise of any errors.
For questions about the proposed DRAFT school budget, visit www.whufsd.com or contact the Central Administration and or your Board of Education Trustees with your comments, thoughts, and questions.