It’s now up to residents. Huntington School Board members have unanimously adopted a budget to fund district operations during the 2019/120 school year and placed it on the Tuesday, May 21 ballot.
The adopted budget continues all academic programs and keeps the art, music, physical education, extracurricular club and interscholastic athletic programs intact. It fully funds the Blue Devil marching band, elementary and secondary grade level bands, orchestras and ensembles and district drama clubs, the robotics and mock trial initiatives and other academic and co-curricular programs.
Student bus transportation based upon current mileage guidelines will also continue. The plan provides funds to implement strategic improvements to the academic and co-curricular offerings. Current class size guidelines will be maintained. The budget sets aside monies for 4.5 contingent teacher positions that can be filled should enrollment increase.
“This year’s budget development process has been among the more demanding in recent years, as it includes increases in a number of non-discretionary expense categories,” Huntington School Board President Jennifer Hebert said. “Despite challenges, Superintendent James W. Polansky, his administrative team and staff have worked diligently to realize cost efficiencies and apply alternative revenue sources in a way that maintains the strength of the district’s instructional programs and opportunities for students.”
The budget totals $133,488,443, an increase of 2.83 percent over the current year’s spending plan. If approved by residents, the 2019/20 budget would raise the tax levy by an estimated 2.58 percent.
A home assessed at the district average of $3,415 would see an increase of $220.27 before STAR program savings are applied.
It is estimated that the tax rate will go from $239.36 to $245.81 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 2.69 percent. The district is budgeting for a drop of $50,000 in total assessed valuation to $44,913,399. Should assessed valuation come in higher than anticipated, trustees will be in a position to lower the actual increase when the tax rate is set early next fall.
The 2019/20 budget allocates $372,640 for new text and print resources, $93,000 for new computer software, $41,900 for new library resources and $200,000 for new instructional equipment, including computers and tablet devices.
The adopted budget includes monies to allow for augmented core curricular and digital resources, enhanced social and emotional learning program, expanded library and digital media programs, elementary guidance program extension and facility and technological upgrades.
The 2019/20 spending plan allots $10.923 million for bus transportation. The district is currently transporting 4,960 eligible students residing in the district to eight public schools as well as 32 private/parochial schools and 25 special needs schools in accordance with state law. Students are being transported by 53 large busses and 87 vans. State transportation aid is expected to total $3,458,823 next year.
Total state aid is projected to increase by a modest $340,551 or less than two percent to $17,827,613 in 2019/20. The district is allocating $1.4 million in surplus monies to hold down the tax rate.
“Huntington School District students and staff continue to receive accolades in core disciplinary subject areas, as well as in their extracurricular pursuits,” Mrs. Hebert said. “Student participation and accomplishments in advanced coursework, as well as in STEM and interdisciplinary research, have reached an all-time high. Achievement gaps continue to narrow at all levels, as students are provided with extensive opportunities to further explore their interests.”
Huntington School Board members will hold a public hearing on the 2019/20 budget plan on Monday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.