A Tradition of Excellence since 1657

Tax Rate Lowered as Draft Budget Review Continues

As Huntington School Board members continue to review spending lines in a draft budget to fund district operations during the 2012/13 school year, Superintendent James W. Polansky unveiled reductions that have cut the estimated tax rate increase to 2.89 percent.

During a budget workshop session this past Monday night in the Jack Abrams School auditorium, district officials discussed spending on curriculum, instruction and staffing. Mr. Polansky explained that operational efficiencies have been utilized to reduce projected expenditures on salaries and benefits contained in an earlier budget draft by nearly $900,000.

"We were able to make the reductions and meet our tax cap obligations without compromising programs through the realization of instructional scheduling efficiencies and careful monitoring and control of non-instructional expenditures," Mr. Polansky said.

The draft budget totals $111,858,780, or $2.82 million more than the current year's budget. The state's tax cap law limits the increase in the property tax levy to 2.21 percent, a figure the draft budget meets.

District officials said the monies provided in the draft budget insure the district's core curriculum will remain strong on the elementary and secondary levels. More than 4,400 students are enrolled in classes this year and another 1,100 receive transportation and textbooks for private and parochial school study in accordance with state law.

The draft budget contains funding for many of the district's most popular programs, including an array of Regents, honors and Advanced Placement courses, popular high school electives, comprehensive special education services, a high school college counseling center to assist students and parents during the application process and to identify and apply for sources of financial aid, SEARCH and Math Olympiad enrichment programs, more than 100 clubs and sports teams, upgrades to the districts computer hardware and software, new textbooks and workbooks and continuation of the district's dual language program.

The tentative 2012/13 spending plan also fully funds the Blue Devil marching band and provides for the high school science research program, student drama club productions and newspapers, science fairs, extensive art, physical education and music instruction, including band, orchestra and chorus.

The draft budget projects a state aid increase of $584,376 to $11,502,390. It would use $2.245 million from the district's reserves to hold down the tax increase. Trustees continued their tradition of conservative budgeting by including a $300,000 reduction in estimated assessed valuation of property within the district.

Trustees will meet again next Monday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Abrams School auditorium to district 2012/13 reviews and conduct a general draft budget review. Trustees will adopt a proposed budget on Monday, April 16. A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Monday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Abrams School auditorium.

Residents will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 15 at Huntington High School between 6 a.m. – 9 p.m. For more information call District Clerk Elizabeth Troffa at 673-2126.

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