The Eastport South Manor Board of Education has adopted a $92.4 million 2015-16 budget, a plan that slightly decreases overall spending next year and narrowly stops short of piercing the state-mandated cap on the tax levy.
The budget adopted last Wednesday, April 22, calls for a $152,323 decrease, or 0.2 percent drop, in spending next school year. The current year’s budget totals $92.6 million.
Still, the tax levy, or amount raised from taxpayers in both Brookhaven and Southampton towns, is expected to increase by $1.1 million, from $49.8 million to $50.9 million, or 2.2 percent. Assistant Superintendent Rich Snyder explained that the district did not receive enough state aid to balance the numbers. Additionally, he said he did not want to keep tapping into the district’s fund balance, or reserves, as has been done in the past.
The decrease in spending was achieved through a handful of staffing changes, including eight teacher retirements, which will lower that budget line by $773,000, as only six of those educators will be replaced, at lower salaries, according to Mr. Snyder.
He also noted that decreases in enrollment will result in the district eliminating five elementary school teacher positions, accounting for $582,000 in spending, along with two full-time and one part-time special area teaching positions, which had accounted for $260,000 in spending. The budget also eliminates four teaching assistants, freeing up another $136,000, according to district officials.
All of these adjustments bring instructional spending down by approximately $1.75 million, to about $12.2 million next year.
As a result, the tax rate for both Brookhaven and Southampton town residents is expected to increase by 2.27 percent, which does not pierce the state mandated cap because the district was allowed up to an increase of 2.28 percent, according to Mr. Snyder.
If approved as-is, residents living in the Southampton Town side of Eastport can expect the tax rate to increase by 54 cents, from $23.75 to $24.29 per $1,000 of assessed value. Therefore, if assessments do not change, a taxpayer whose home is assessed at $500,000 will pay $12,145 in school taxes, or $270 more than the current year.
In Brookhaven Town, taxpayers can expect the tax rate to increase by $5.70 per $100 of assessed value, from $249.99 this year to $255.69 next year. As a result, a homeowner with a home assessed at $5,000 can expect to pay about $12,784, or $285 more than the current year.
A public hearing on the budget has been scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6, at the Eastport South Manor Junior-Senior High School on Moriches-Middle Island Road in Manorville. Taxpayers will cast their ballots on the proposed spending plan on Tuesday, May 19.