Mr. Weiss began the presentation with an outline of the budget and tax levy goals. Then Mr. DeVito summarized the elementary and secondary program budgets, which were outlined in detail at previous board meetings. Mr. DeVito also explained the costs associated with benefits and debt service. The total 2014-15 budget is projected at $130,717,198.
On the revenue side, Mr. DeVito outlined the history of state aid, which has declined from 26 percent of the total budget in 1997-98 to 14 percent in 2014-15. After subtracting state aid and other revenue sources, Mr. DeVito estimated the proposed tax levy to be $96,727,399. This figure represents a 3.75 percent increase, which meets this year’s tax levy cap requirements for the district. Mr. DeVito explained that based on the tax cap formula, the allowable growth factor for 2014-15 is 1.46 percent, but the district receives an exemption for debt service, which sets the tax levy limit at 3.75 percent. Mr. DeVito also pointed out that over the past two years, the district’s tax levy has been significantly below the maximum allowable pursuant to the tax cap formula.
After discussing the presentation, the board directed Mr. Weiss to come back to them with suggestions for cutting up to $1 million from the proposed budget. The board will hear the superintendent’s recommendations at a special work session on April 2 before adopting the final proposed budget at the business meeting on April 8.
In other news, the superintendent introduced William Stroud, who will be appointed principal of Long Beach High School at the next regular Board of Education meeting on April 8. A nationally recognized educator with nearly three decades of experience, Mr. Stroud is currently serving as the assistant director at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education at Columbia University-Teachers College.
Director of Comprehensive Arts Dr. Dale Johanson introduced district art teachers, who presented awards to the district’s 30 All-County artists. Special recognition was given to senior Caroline Whelan, who was the recipient of an Art Supervisors Association scholarship.