The Southampton School District is looking to eliminate approximately $1.5 million from the district budget in order to come in under the New York State mandated tax levy cap for the 2014-15 school year, district officials confirmed.
At a Board of Education meeting on Tuesday night, Assistant Superintendent for Business Maria H. Smith presented the preliminary numbers to the board, explaining to district officials that currently Southampton is allotted a total tax levy of $50,749,238 for the next school year, an increase of 1.03 percent, or $518,994, over the current year’s $50,230,244 levy.
With the tax levy set, the overall district budget allowed by the state is $62,228,698. However, the district currently projects a $63,696,590 spending plan, a total that is $1,467,892 more than allowed. On Tuesday night, District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina said the board will work to trim the fat on the budget, but did not know yet where the cuts will come from, saying that department presentations have just started.
After the meeting, Dr. Farina also explained that last year, although the district’s taxpayers approved a $61.9 million budget, the district received over $370,000 in last-minute Native American building aid from the state for being the designated school district for the Shinnecock Tribe. That means the projected spending plan for next year of $62.2 million is a .37 percent, or $231,910, decrease from the current year’s $62.5 million budget.
Although Southampton Town has not yet released tax rate information for next year, Ms. Smith said the district anticipates an increase of approximately 2 cents, or .83 percent, from $2.42 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $2.44 cents. That means, for a home valued at $500,000, taxpayers can anticipate paying roughly $1,220.65 in school taxes next year, an increase of $10.65 over the current year’s $1,210.
The Southampton Board of Education will continue budget talks through the next several months before presenting the spending plan to taxpayers in May. The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the intermediate school music room.