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Nanuet Schools 2013-14 Budget: $3.5M Budget Gap

Possible items on the table are: depletion of reserve funds, reconfiguration of K-5, increased class sizes and personnel and program cuts

 

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Last year, the Nanuet School Board faced difficult decisions and had to find about o cut from the 2012-13 budget because of the new 2 percent tax levy cap. This year they projected they’ll need to close a $3.5 million budget gap to get under the cap.

At Tuesday night’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Mark McNeill presented a power point slide to the board of where the district stands. All numbers are estimates because it’s so early in the school year. The power point is also attached to this Patch article.

To sum up, with the projected course of the Nanuet schools under the tax levy cap:

In 2013-14

  • Programs and class sizes will be maintained
  • There may be a grade reconfiguration of K-5 (Miller K-3; Highview 4-5; Barr 6-8)
  • Possible reduction in transportation costs by changing building schedules (Miller and Highview start times would be staggered)
  • Additional cuts
  • Reserves will be used to reduce the levy

In 2014-15

  • Actions will be required
  • Decrease number of teachers
  • Increase class sizes
  • Eliminate programs
  • Reserves will be depleted to reduce the levy

In 2015-16

  • Survival
  • Significant further reduction in staff and elimination of programs
  • No reserves

Nanuet Patch will be going into detail on each of these topics in a series of articles today and the following days.

Looking Back

The power point starts with a recap of the previous year and the current school year.

“What we can say for the 11-12 school year is that all programs were reserved and class sizes were pretty much the same,” said McNeill. “What we did for the current budget, we did the same thing. All we had in mind was that we wanted to reserve our instructional programs and we don’t want to tamper with the class sizes.”

New legislation dictates that all New York schools cannot increase its tax levy more than 2 percent from the previous year’s levy.

“Instead of Pfizer governing us, this past year, is the first year we’re under the new state legislation called the tax levy limit,” said McNeill. “It hovers around 2 percent.”

In an  the Nanuet schools talks about the cap and addressed a common public misunderstanding about the 2 percent cap.

“We don’t want to cut any programs. Nanuet is a high quality school district. We know we have the programs that work, we have programs that go over and above what school districts are required to have and we have the class sizes that reinforce this kind of achievement.”

In 2011-12 Budget

  • The district
  • Decreased transportation expenses
  • Decreased 10.3 staff positions
  • Teachers and administrators received a 0 percent salary increase
  • Applied reserves to reduce the levy
  • Budget = -.02%
  • Tax Levy = -.74%

In the 2012-13 Budget

  • Eliminated 2.5 FTE (teachers) through change in Middle School schedule.
  • Eliminated 2 library clerk positions—“They were retiring”
  • Decreased security costs
  • Eliminated $681,000 of debt service/technology bond—
  • Applied reserves to reduce levy
  • Budget = +1.6%
  • Tax Levy = +0.64%

“The only way to come in under the levy limit was take out of the bank account (reserves) and make these cuts. The levy was .64 instead of 2 percent because … we got penalized by the levy limit formula for retiring debt,” said McNeill.

Phil Sions, assistant superintendent for business, added that the district budgeted in retiring the debt before the formula came out so they didn’t know that they would have been penalized for being fiscally responsible.

The district is making the assumption that since it’s not retiring debt this year, they will come in around 2 percent, like the other school districts.

Check back with Nanuet Patch later today and tomorrow for more on the meeting’s discussions on reserves, reconfiguration and possible future changes in staff, programs and class sizes. 

ATL October 10, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Maybe it's time to sell that wonderful $13.5 million geese pooped park and turn it into senior housing that will generate school tax revenue without increasing the burden on the school district. Come on BOE-Nanuet, have some balls and use this asset to make all of us “survive” just a little bit better. It’s time for that park to go!!!
Scott Walters October 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM
For several years, there has been one candidate for School Board who has offered the only 'out of the box' solution to bring in money and materials from the private sector. This person has suggested the addition of a Director of Development, something that private schools have and public colleges and universities have whole offices. In fact, the wife of the superintendent of schools in Nanuet works for that office at SUNY Rockland.. The school board has unanimously rejected this concept as being 'basically unworkable and unreasonable'. One current board member last year indicated this would not work after she (not a professional Director of Development) called ONE company and that company said 'no'. Another board member said that the bad outweighed the good, but, when asked, refused to answer what the parameters he was siting were. Yes, there has been ONLY one candidate for Nanuet School Board for the past four years who has advocated for this position to be put into place to bring in money and materials from the outside. Who is that man? You're reading his words now.
Scott Duplessis October 10, 2012 at 04:21 PM
The 2013-2014 mandated costs increase is 4.5% of the budget. What are these mandatory costs increases? Why would someone agree to these costs if they amount to 4.5% of the budget? With a budget gap of $3.5 million, it seems that the tax levy would have to increase to about 8% just to stay afloat. Something is wrong with this picture. Taxes are high enough. We can't increase our revenue to pay these insanely high taxes. New ideas need to be brought to the table.
concerned nanuet parent October 10, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Why doesn't the board vote to sell the park with poop all over it? Why cut teachers? We should cut the admins in the office. We need teachers to teach not people in the offices making large salaries and pushing paper! Get it together Nanuet
Kim Tran (Editor) October 10, 2012 at 05:09 PM
I'm finishing up on a few more articles covering this topic from last night's meeting. In the one that's going to be posted later today, McNeill breaks down the budget numbers. “There are (increasing) fixed costs that we have no control over," he said such as healthcare, pension, special education, etc ...
Tom Yeoman October 10, 2012 at 06:39 PM
As a Nanuet (K @ Baptist Church, Highview 1-6 & N Junior Senior HS 7-12, I am reatful tht I live & work in South Carolina now.
Maryann October 10, 2012 at 07:36 PM
How did my taxes go up $1600 this year and yet the school district had these massive cuts? Perhaps it's because they overvaluated the Pfizer property and sucked them dry for years, just like North Rockland did to O&R. Then a new owner buys the property that has zero ties to the community and we all get double digit increases. When will these school districts ever learn that you can't keep putting the screws to your corporate neighbors?? Eventually, it will return to bite you.
INTHEKNOW October 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM
""As a Nanuet (K @ Baptist Church, Highview 1-6 & N Junior Senior HS 7-12, I am reatful tht I live & work in South Carolina now."" I'm grateful that I didn't go to Nanuet schools after seeing your grammar.
Long Time Resident October 11, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Shame on the BOE for not doing the job we elected them to do. It should always be teachers first! ALL other programs and staff second. Sad to be a Nanuet resident today.
Fred Smith October 11, 2012 at 02:55 AM
Why are programs like physical education being cut when the district is still offering semi private music lessons? My son has over 35 students in his PE class and over 30 in his history class but music lessons are being taught with 2-5 students.
mike sullivan October 11, 2012 at 12:02 PM
I hate to sound racist,but wait till the Hasidic's buy the property and become tax free.They are in serious negoiations.The end of Pearl River and Nanuet schools
Brian October 11, 2012 at 12:17 PM
@ mike sullivan: Is that true? My parents live in Nanuet, and I don't think they have any idea of that.
Mary October 11, 2012 at 01:27 PM
The Hasidics are in negotiations to annex 7 acres of Clarkstown land to New Square.
Clarkstown life October 11, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Mary.....it's ramapo NOT clarkstown
Kim Tran (Editor) October 12, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I've posted the last article of this series that covered Tuesday's school board meeting http://nanuet.patch.com/articles/future-nanuet-school-budget-going-to-be-survival
Arthur Winoker October 26, 2012 at 01:41 PM
What happened at the 10/23/12 BOE meeting re the fiscal issues?
Scott Walters October 26, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Those 'music lessons' you refer to are the small group 'pull out' lessons based on instrument and level of playing. PE and History are a regular classroom setting. As a musician and music teacher, it is impossible to try and teach five or six instruments at one time to various levels of ability versus playing an organized sport in PE or listening to a discussion on history. PM me with any further questions.
Observer November 12, 2012 at 01:30 AM
next BOE meeting is Nov. 20 @ 7:30p in HS library. http://www.nanuetsd.org/calendars/District-Calendar/month

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