The Westhampton Beach Board of Education has released preliminary tax rate information associated with the proposed $53.5 million spending plan adopted by the board last month and which will be voted on by residents next week.
At a sparsely attended meeting on Monday night, Superintendent of Schools Michael Radday announced that if the assessed value of homes in the district remain the same, the district is anticipating a tax rate of $6.07 per $1,000 of assessed valuation when tax bills arrive at the end of the year. That would represent a 3.58 percent increase over the current year’s tax rate of $5.86 per $1,000.
That means that if a house valued at $650,000 this year stays assessed at the same value next year, the owner would pay $3,946 in school taxes, or $137 more than the $3,809 they paid this year.
“It is our job to bring a budget to the community that is fair to the taxpayers,” Mr. Radday said during the presentation. “We are fortunate to have a community that supports our students and really values the education our students receive here at Westhampton Beach.”
The overall $53.5 million budget increases spending in the district by 3.6 percent over the current year’s $51.8 million plan. Under the budget, which must be approved by taxpayers on May 21, the district is anticipating a $27.3 million tax levy, an increase of 3.6 percent from the current year’s $26.3 million levy.
During the meeting, Mr. Radday explained that it was a difficult budget season for the district, noting that extravagant increases in salaries, health care, and retirement contributions forced district-wide cuts.
To stay under the New York State mandated tax levy cap, the district will be cutting five instructional coordinator positions, as well as three full-time and two part-time teaching positions. The board will phase out the high school’s American sign language and Latin programs, laying off two full-time teachers, and will eliminate one high school art teacher position. They are also cutting a part-time special education teacher and business teacher.
Also being cut is funding for the varsity bowling team and the JV boys volleyball team and JV cheerleading squad.
The budget vote is scheduled for Tuesday, May 21, in the Large Group Instruction room at the Lilac Road High School. Voting will run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.