Springs School Begins Budget Season; District Plans To Stay Under Tax Levy Cap

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The Springs School District expects to stay under the 1.46 percent tax levy cap for the 2014-15 school year, according to District Treasurer Thomas Primiano.

The district’s first budget workshop outlined a preliminary $2 million budget for its buildings and grounds, transportation, technology and board of education budgets, as well as revenue the district expects next year.

The state’s 2 percent tax levy cap actually will be 1.4648 percent this year to match the 2013 consumer price index. The cap is either 2 percent or equal to the CPI, whichever is lower.

Mr. Primiano said the district is really getting squeezed, but plans to come in at 1.46 percent at the highest, even though he expects the tax levy to rest at 3.29 percent after exemptions are factored in. He said approximately $600,000 from the district’s fund balance will need to go toward keeping the levy down.

The district is expecting to spend approximately $876,767 on buildings and grounds expenses in the 2014-15 school year, which includes the operation and maintenance of the school. The district’s budget for buildings and grounds for the 2013-14 school year sits at $863,950, which is $12,817 less than what is proposed for next year.

The district has appointed an architect, Burton, Behrendt and Smith, to come up with a master plan of space at the school and a management plan for its property. According to district officials, this plan will outline where the school can become more efficient with its space and resources.

The preliminary transportation budget may increase by $34,650 next year, from $649,728 to $684,378. A sixth bus route is being added in order to meet the needs of the growing community. School Board President Liz Mendelman said one of the school buses currently has 112 children assigned to it, although not that many ride it at once.

There is planned to be a $100,000 decrease in the budget because the school will begin busing its students to Eastern Suffolk Board of Cooperative Educational Services, instead of relying on their transportation services. Salaries for one driver and two bus monitors will be added under the transportation budget, approximately $128,000 in total.

The district’s proposed technology budget may see a $66,377 increase, from $170,050 to $236,427. Mr. Primiano said the district plans to buy 150 Chromebook laptops, which are about $300 each, and software to better filter the internet is also needed.

The Board of Education budget should stay stable at $36,680, up from $35,863 in the 2013-14 school year, and other contractual budget items may increase from $205,816 to $228,174.

The district’s fund balance has increased from $5 million to $7.4 million, thanks to paying less in tuition to the East Hampton School District for Springs children who attend East Hampton High School.

Mr. Primiano said the two districts have been working together to get the tuition rates lower and are making significant progress there. He said, additionally, that there were fewer Springs students at the high school than they had expected. Adding more money to the pot, three students who signed up for BOCES ended up not going after all, so the money that had been set aside for those students ended up going back into the fund balance.

The next budget work shop will be on February 26, at 7 p.m. at the school.

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