On May 15, the Tuckahoe School Board is asking district voters to approve a $17.8 million budget, representing a 4.40 percent spending increase.
Last year, the Tuckahoe budget , but the 2012-13 proposal is the first subject to New York State's new tax cap.
Inclusive of collected property taxes and STAR reimbursement from New York State, the tax levy is budgeted to increase 1.99 percent. According to the district’s budget brochure, the increase could have been as high as 2.7 percent while still meeting the cap.
“We worked tirelessly since November on this budget," School Board member Sharon Grindle said. "We pored over it line by line by line, Monday night after Monday night after Monday night."
“We really believe that we have delivered a budget that is fair and equitable, that keeps the continuity and the excellence of our education system intact while being prudent. ...” she continued. “We came in as low as we could come in without compromising the integrity of any of the programs.”
The tax rate is projected to rise by 9.54 percent to $7.23 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The tax rate increase was pushed up by a 4.91 percent dip of the total assessed value of properties in the district, meaning the impact on homeowners whose property values decreased will be less than 9.54 percent.
In the district’s budget brochure, Tuckahoe highlights these programs included in the proposed budget:
- A focus on technology in all learning centers as academic and communication multipliers.
- 12-month continuous learning cycle for remedial and enrichment services.
- The transportation of district students to the Tuckahoe School, as well as to receiving high schools, parochial and private schools.
- All afterschool enrichment clubs, field trips, and intramurals.
- Middle-level interscholastic sports with the .
- Full-day pre-kindergarten and full-day kindergarten offerings.
- A well-balanced school lunch program as part of our wellness initiative.
- The district’s middle-level outdoor education program.
- The Tuckahoe Child Care After-School Program for working families.
- The necessary maintenance of district buildings that keep facility costs down over time.
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Elementary and middle school costs are slated to rise 2.62 percent to $10.1 million while tuition and sports expenses for high school-age students will grow 5.36 percent, to $4.4 million. Parents have the choice of sending their ninth- through 12th-graders to or , with Westhampton Beach being the cheaper of the two.
If the budget is defeated, the district expects to pull the fifth and eighth grade education programs out and to eliminate an elementary education position, two teaching assistant positions and all co-curricular programs, then put the revised budget to a second vote.
In addition to the budget, there will be four other propositions on the ballot, including authorizing the district to continue sending ninth through 12th graders to out-of-district high schools. One proposition, which will not affect the tax levy, asks for voters permission to expend $465,000 from the capital reserve fund for new heating pipes. The last two propositions, which will add to the total tax levy, are $54,386 for the district's participation in the and $7,868 for the district's participation in the .
There will be two School Board candidates on the ballot: incumbent and former board member .
The vote will take place in the gymnasium Tuesday, May 15, between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.