School district budgets matter. If you’re a student, it can affect the quality of the education you receive, and the programs you enjoy. And similarly for parents, a budget funds curriculum, resources, equipment and programs that can help make your child successful. And even if you aren’t a student, or a parent, budgets should still matter to you, because they can impact the amount of taxes you have to pay.
In late January, the Glen Cove Oyster Bay Record Pilot took a look at the beginning of the Oyster Bay East-Norwich School District and the Glen Cove City School District’s budget processes. To view the previous reporting, visit glencoveoysterbayrecordpilot.com. Similarly to all school districts, the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District and the Glen Cove City School District face the challenge of staying within the tax cap amid inflation and increased costs in health care benefits.
Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District
Deputy Superintendent Maureen Raynor at the Feb. 28 Oyster Bay-East Norwich Central School District Board of Education meeting gave the second budget presentation, where she revealed the Consumer Price Index is 8 percent, which she said is the highest seen in the 10 years of the tax cap.
Last year, the CPI was 4.70 percent.
“We are all facing this ourselves as community members, as residents, as homeowners when our utility bills come in, our insurance bills come in,” Raynor said.
As of now, the allowable tax levy for the district will be between 2.3 and 2.45 percent.
“We are currently working on a few last variables, specifically the capital exclusions relating to debt service and the interest on debt service,” Raynor said.
In this presentation, Raynor introduced revenues and expenses, which must always be equal to balance a budget. The revenues include tax levy, state aid, reserve and fund balance and other sources. The expenses are primarily salaries and benefits and contractual services. Tax levy makes up 88.2 percent of the revenue.
As for foundation aid, the district expects to receive approximately $1.9 million, a $55,899 increase from the current year. The district will receive approximately $3.5 million in total aid.
The next budget meeting will have details about the expenditure side on March 28, and the budget will be adopted April 18.
To watch the meeting livestream and view the budget presentation, visit obenschools.org.
Glen Cove City School District
At the Feb. 8 Glen Cove City School District Board of Education meeting, the total state aid that the district expected to receive for the 2023 through 2024 school year was approximately $27.8 million, which included approximately $22.4 million in state aid.
At the March 15 Board of Education meeting, Assistant Superintendent of Business Victoria Galante presented what will become the 2023 through 2024 budget, which consists of the administrative, capital and program components.
Galante went over the administrative budget, which includes Board of Education, district meeting, Office of the Superintendent, Office of Finance/Business, auditing expenses, among other expenses.
Expenses in the Office of Finance and Business was higher than normal because of a mandate that required the district to bring in a third party consultant to monitor new regulations in place, and advertising also went up because the district has to advertise bids in the newspaper amid an increase in capital projects.
There was also an increase in Office of Personnel because of staffing needs and contractual obligations, as well as unallocated insurance, because of cyber and flood insurance.
Galante said she spoke with the district’s insurance agent, and because the district is undergoing litigation through FEMA to prevent what happened during Tropical Storm Ida from happening again, which may decrease the cost of unallocated insurance in the future.
The total administrative cost is approximately $8.3 million, a $286,558 increase from the current year.
As for the capital component, expenses went up by about $383,519. The total is approximately $9.5 million.
Operations of plant expenses went up. One of the reasons why is because the district is implementing a new software for the district-wide cameras that will make it easier for school principals to find the recorded video they’re looking for. The district will also be upgrading the older cameras. The refund-real property taxes budget line went down because the district is seeing less tax certs.
The last component, the biggest component in the budget, was programs. The total for the program component is approximately $90.2 million, an increase from the current year by about $5.4 million.
Special education saw an approximate $2.7 million because the district is seeing more students who need special education services. The computer assisted instruction budget line, which funds the IT department and the replacement of district-wide provided Chrome Books, went up by $134,150. Health insurance also went up by approximately $1.3 million, which is driven by the pandemic.
The total appropriation budget is approximately $108 million. The proposed tax levy is approximately $75.3 million, or 2.52 percent.
At the March 29 meeting, a review of the 2023 through 2024 budget will be given. There will also be a Q&A from the Board of Education. To watch the meeting live-stream or to review the budget presentations, visit glencoveschools.org.