Huntington School District residents are preparing to go to the polls on Tuesday, May 16 to vote on a spending plan to fund school operations during the 2017/18 academic year.
Residents will also cast ballots on two separate capital reserve fund propositions, including one to authorize the expenditure of up to $2.495 million for various projects and another to establish a new fund to cover costs associated with future work on the district’s eight buildings. Passage of either of the capital reserve fund propositions will have no effect on the tax rate.
“Superintendent James W. Polansky, his administrative team and faculty members have worked diligently to realize cost efficiencies, while at the same time striving to develop alternative revenue sources,” Huntington School Board President Thomas DiGiacomo said. “Current year expenditures have been carefully monitored to maximize savings and re-evaluate line items in an effort to address the ever changing educational needs of our students. The approach used in developing next year’s budget is a reflection of similar efforts.”
A copy of the proposed budget, a 12-page budget brochure and individual presentations focusing on different areas of the spending plan are available for viewing on demand on the district website at www.joshuacarnes.info.
A copy of the2017/18 budget brochure is being sent to every mailing address in the district. Archived line-by-line budgets dating to 2000/01 are also available on the district website.
The proposed budget totals $126,213,223, an increase of 2.53 percent over the current year’s spending plan. If approved by residents, it would raise the tax levy by 1.35 percent, which is below the limit of 1.89 percent established by state law.
It is estimated that the tax rate will go from $229.41 to $232.50 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 1.35 percent. Should assessed valuation come in higher than anticipated in the spending plan, trustees will be in a position to lower the actual increase when the tax rate is set early next fall. An increase in expected state aid of $926,199 is helping to mitigate the estimated increase in the property tax rate.
“The Huntington School District continues to receive accolades locally, regionally and nationally,” Mr. DiGiacomo said. “The district was, once again, ranked near the top of the Washington Post’s “Americas Most Challenging High Schools” list. Additionally, the district and Huntington High School were identified as among the top in New York State by niche.com.”
The proposed budget maintains class sizes at all grade levels that are below district guidelines. District executives began preparing the 2017/18 budget last fall. Trustees reviewed the plan during a series of public meetings over the past two months. Several revised drafts of the plan were presented before it was adopted by trustees in a 7-0 vote. Residents will have the final say on Monday, May 16.
Budget highlights include:
• Provides for an extensive line-up of Regents, Honors and Advanced Placement courses in every academic area.
• Allocates $230,335 for new textbooks, $163,030 for new workbooks, $45,264 for new library resources, $130,000 for new computer software and $324,879 for new instructional equipment, including computers and tablet devices.
• Continues the district’s 1:1 computing device initiative.
• Funds 64 athletic teams for high school and middle school students, 100 coaching positions and a full-time athletic trainer.
• Provides a complete program of adult-supervised, after-school extracurricular activities, including dozens of clubs for students.
• Funds comprehensive art, music and physical education opportunities, including band, orchestra, chorus, marching band, music ensembles, specialized art courses and Project Adventure.
• Funds student drama club productions, newspapers, concerts, science fairs and the district art show.
• Maintains the district’s K-5 dual language program. Expands world language FLEX program to grade 5.
• Includes a comprehensive special education program for students with disabilities and support services for all students.
• Continues the SEARCH and Math Olympiad programs for academically talented fifth and sixth graders.
• Expands the Advanced Placement (AP) Capstone diploma program at Huntington High School with the second course in the Capstone sequence (AP Research).
• Augments the district’s commitment to the high school science research program and robotics programs.
• Furthers STEM/computer science initiatives throughout the district.
Huntington School Board members will hold a public budget hearing on the 2017/18 plan on Monday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.
Residents with questions on the proposed budget can contact Mr. Polansky at [email protected].