District's State Aid Figures Adjusted
The Huntington School District's state aid is now expected to run about $294,681 below the amount budgeted. The difference in the figures comes after the district finished the state aid claims process.
Officials now project aid of $10,623,333, substantially below the $10,918,014 estimate that was based upon the budget enacted by the state legislature. The aid claims process is an annual exercise that typically results in an adjustment to earlier estimates. However, this year's swing is larger than usual.
"The categories of aid that are expenditure based are approximately four percent less than what we anticipated," said David H. Grackin, the district's assistant superintendent for finance and management services.
"The legislature's projections are based upon expenditure estimates as well as student counts from the STAC process," Mr. Grackin said. "The local share deduction has increased by 93 percent. This is due to the fact that more Huntington residents under the age of 21 who are not high school graduates were incarcerated." Mr. Grackin said the STAC process also encompasses special education and homeless students.
STAC is the acronym for System for Tracking and Accountability for Children. "For those residents who are incarcerated under age 21 who don't have a high school diploma, the district of residence is financially responsible for their education," Mr. Grackin explained. "So if a resident of Huntington spends six months in the jail in Riverhead, the Riverhead School District provides for their education. Riverhead bills the state and the state deducts the cost from our operating aid."
Taken as a whole, the district received about 2.7 percent less aid than it anticipated when it crafted the 2011/12 budget last spring. "This may change when the BOCES aid is finalized sometime in November," Mr. Grackin said. This year's budget includes an expectation that BOCES aid will total $918,868.
Aid for the district's universal pre-kindergarten program was down $805 from earlier estimates, dropping to $334,800. This aid is expenditure driven, meaning it is based upon what the district spends. The UPK aid is categorized as a special fund aid and is not reflected in the general fund aid summary.