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Seaford School Officials Begin Laying Groundwork for 2013/14 Budget

District facing a 2.2 percent allowable tax levy increase unless state provides more relief.

Seaford school officials have begun laying the groundwork for the district's 2013/14 budget in the midst of a challenging fiscal climate.

The Seaford School District was forced to operate on a contingency budget for the 2011-12 school year following two rejected spending proposals by voters but able to pass last May’s $57.8 million spending plan. Leading into the 2013/14 budget planning process, the district got a boost from voters approving a $5 million sale of the former Seaford Avenue School property in December, but got bad news when Gov. Andrew Cuomo released his executive budget last month showing a 6.88 percent drop in state aid. The district also must contend with the state's tax cap rule that took effect for the current school year.

During a presentation at Thursday night's school board meeting, Interim Assistant Superintendent for Business Alan Philips said unless further help from the state is given, the district's allowable tax levy increase will only be 2.2 percent. Last year Seaford was allowed to raise the tax levy by 2.93 percent but opted to go with 2.5 percent in order to have a better shot of passing the budget. The tax levy is the total amount that a district must raise in property taxes in order to meet expenses. 

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Phillips said districts had been given guidance last year that going below the allowable tax levy would permit a carryover this year, but that rule was then changed by State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. If the carryover was allowed, Seaford would be allowed a tax levy hike of 2.6 percent, which equates to an additional $190,000.

"The tax levy limit will not permit the district to meet its financial responsibilities without making significant budgetary reductions," said Phillips explained during his presentation Thursday night at Seaford Manor School.

A big reason why Seaford's state aid total is down in Cuomo's preliminary budget plan is , which is provided to districts in mostly downstate regions who have higher expenses than upstate. Seaford Superintendent of Schools Brian Conboy expressed major frustration at Cuomo's decision to lash high tax aid to Long Island districts during Thursday night's school board meeting.

"That was abominable what they did," Conboy said. "That was literarily taking money from Long Island and giving it to everyone else."

Conboy said he does expect Seaford to receive some additional aid from Albany by the time a final state budget is adopted by legislators but that it will likely still be a decrease from last year. The school board is scheduled to discuss the budget in more detail at its next meeting scheduled for Feb. 28 at Seaford Manor School starting at 7:30 p.m.

Hilarity Jones February 11, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Most people who read what you write here on the Patch, have become so annoyed with your rantings and posts after posts have just decided to stop rebutting or commenting because as we have all come to know, it is a lost cause. That is what you want, as it somehow gives you the thought that you are right in all of your delusions. I can assure you that this will never happen with me. I will continue to question your "ideas" and "opinions" until you begin to provide a factual basis or anything other than attacks in your rebuttals when questioned. I never once said you were uninformed or uneducated, but you have done a pretty good job of proving that to the readership yourself. You have the right to post anything you want, any opinion you want, as do I, but I will not now, or ever, continue to allow you to use this medium as your personal bully pulpit. I know I speak for the majority on this one.
Lorraine DeVita February 11, 2013 at 04:52 PM
**sigh**
VoReason February 11, 2013 at 10:18 PM
Okay three weeks of college...lets do this slowly. I never said anything about a masters. Nys requires 175 hours of professional development every 5 years, regardless of degree level. Most teachers retire with the equivalent of three or four degrees. And just bc newsday found 6 teachers exploiting the system and taking bogus classes doesn't mean all are guilty of it, so save that crap before you get started. And the four months off...most private sector employees average about 30 - 50 days a year at work more than teachers. You think the teachers/unions set the school year at 180? C'mon man...parents won't even be sending their kids in next week, so who are they supposed to teach if classes went over the summer?
Former Long Islander February 24, 2013 at 04:58 PM
Does anyone here sometimes just step back and understand the dimensions of what is happening and the measures needed to effect real change. Like the passengers on the Titanic who were not told the true condition of the ship until the end, many Long Islanders believe that if they can just weather the present difficulties, everything will turn around in the next few years. The truth is that New York, like other states that were imprudent in borrowing money to pay for operating expenses, will have even less money for school aid going forward and school districts will have already used any one time gimmicks available to avoid dealing with their real problems. Looming are the unfunded pension and benefit commitments made as well as a shrinking tax base.
bill March 04, 2013 at 04:48 AM
Amazing. Same old wrong, uninformed answers. If you fired the superintendent, and both assts, you'd save about $500,000 per year. That will not balance the books in any meanful or long term way. Even double the savings to $1 million. Guess what? You would not notice much of a difference in your taxes. Start educating yourselves and stop spewing nonsense.

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