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