Board of Education Adopts $122.1M Budget

School district receives additional state aid; addresses concerns about teacher aide cuts and administrative consolidation.

After weeks of deliberation, and with some reservations, the Long Beach Board of Education came to an agreement Tuesday, voting to adopt the school district’s proposed $122.1 million budget for the 2012-13 fiscal year.  

The board essentially agreed to preserve the same budget as the current operating plan, and will add the $3.5 million debt service principal to the current total allocations.

“We went at the budget to maintain programs ... as well as maintaining our academic initiatives to improve the district in it’s academic standing,” Superintendent David Weiss said. “We don't want to stand still just because we are in difficult budget times.”

Weiss announced to the board that the district received an additional $183,000 in state aid, to which the board agreed to apply towards reducing the tax levy from 3.9 to 3.74 percent ($92.5 to $92.3 million).

Several trustees, including Darlene Tangney and Gina Guma, concerned about cuts to first-grade teaching assistants in the proposed budget, asked the district’s chief operating officer, Michael DeVito, for possible alternatives to cutting the seven positions.

DeVito explained that there is available funding in the district’s $500,000 reserve fund for tax certiorari payments, and suggested using $70,000 of the fund to save the positions.

“Now that were getting more state aid, we’re proposing we keep the budget as it is,” DeVito said. “We need to keep a considerable amount of money in there, but I think, in terms of if you want to restore the first grade aids, I think it would be okay.”

Although residents and board members continued to show concern for staff reductions, there was hardly any wiggle room available to save positions, district officials said. Weiss chose his words carefully while addressing consolidation in the guidance and administrative departments, explaining that no administrative responsibilities will be lost in either department due to cuts. 

“The high school restructuring takes responsibilities that are currently in the hands of the director of guidance, and moves administrative responsibilities of that department to a vice principal, who in essence would become the vice principal of guidance counseling,” Weiss explained. “We're not proposing the elimination of any administrative functions.”

He explained that the consolidation is vital to maintaining the budget, and the move will save more than $300,000.

The Board of Education will hold their final budget hearing on May 8 and the district’s vote on the spending plan and school board elections is May 15.

Neutron April 21, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The city is going to raise our taxes 16% and now the school taxes will increase by nearly 4%. Where do they expect residents to come up with these funds? How many of you have gotten 20 % raises to match the tax increase? What happened to the 2% tax increase cap?
Mayra April 21, 2012 at 06:24 PM
I agree- the nerve of some to want to use reserve money to "save" the jobs of some- it only means higher taxes for the increasingly smaller amount of actual taxpayers. The bloated budget obviously has a built in amount of patronage and unnecessary jobs supported by the unusually high ratio of school spending per student- I believe the figure was accidentally released last year of about $30,000 dollalars per student- outrageous. This high amount is paying for unnecessary school programs like golf, tennis and dance. Furhter there are two public school sysytems in Long Beach- one for the "gifted" students in "magnet" programs ( code words for normal education standards) and the second for the average students( code words for special ed/alternative) The proponets for a well funded public education system are hypocrites because they really use the excessive budget money to set up a separate public school system within the district to segregate their kids rather than pay the private school tuition at local academies..
Eddie April 23, 2012 at 12:08 PM
The 2% cap was a Democrat scam by Cuomo. Remember he scammed you on election day. And remember these school board members who could care less about you, your family or your expenses.
Eddie April 23, 2012 at 12:11 PM
What a shame. Increasing spending again. Everyone's taxes are going up $500, rents will increase $50. The school board should be ashamed. This is the highest tax increase in this part of Nassau, for the lowest scoring schools. When you don't have the money for a nice dinner, remember these people took it from you for a "world class stadium" and raises. With the City tax's 40% increase over 3 years, Long Beach is the highest taxed city in the United States. Maybe the most corrupt too. Then get out and vote them to the curb in May.
Publius April 23, 2012 at 03:20 PM
How does the school district and school board develop a budget? Do they determine what education and programs will provide our children the best education and enrichment and then figure out how to provide it at the lowest cost? Or do they say "Here is what our costs are. Do we have enough or need more money to cover our costs?" I am confident it is the latter. In other words, the focus appears to be how to keep feeding the beast (the cost structure), rather than how do we provide great education and enrichment at the lowest cost. And then they admin uses the threat of program cuts to cow the taxpayer into approving the budget (because the cuts will come to important stuff, not trimming fat of excess personnel and admin costs ("mgt-type" positions in admin and depts) and looking to save through shared services and contracting with other districts). This can change. But it is not about just cutting the budget. It is about looking honestly at the cost structure and attacking it strategically. That takes tremendous courage by the BOE and tremendous stamina by the taxpayers. Godspeed!
LB TAXPAYA April 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Do these people (school Board), ever stop trying to spend other people's money? Unbelievable! How many ballfields do we "NEED"?
steven pappone April 24, 2012 at 06:38 PM
we need a change on the board i think.there getting to comfortable on there.this guy stu mininsky seems pretty good i would like to know a little more about him.


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