It’s now up to residents. Huntington School Board members have unanimously adopted a budget to fund district operations during the 2018/19 school year and placed it on the ballot for Tuesday, May 15.
The adopted budget continues all academic programs and keeps the art, music, physical education, extracurricular club and interscholastic athletic programs intact. It fully funds the Blue Devil marching band, elementary and secondary grade level bands, orchestras and ensembles and district drama clubs.
Student bus transportation based upon current mileage guidelines will also continue. The plan provides funds to implement strategic improvements to the academic and co-curricular offerings. Current class size guidelines will be maintained. The budget sets aside monies for 4.5 contingent teacher positions that can be filled should enrollment increase.
The budget totals $129,812,991, an increase of 2.85 percent over the current year’s spending plan. If approved by residents, the 2018/19 budget would raise the tax levy by an estimated 2.68 percent, which is below the limit of 3.14 percent established by state law.
The adopted budget is $475,611 below the tax levy limit. A home assessed at the district average of $3,430 would see an increase of $213.69 before any STAR program savings are applied.
The adopted 2018/19 budget reflects the hard work of many,” Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “It maintains and, in some areas, expands Huntington’s high quality instructional program, as well as the opportunities provided for students across the grade levels. Ever mindful of the taxpayer burden, it also does so in a fiscally responsible manner as the tax levy falls well below the established cap. Further, the capital proposition addresses needed improvements to the infrastructure of various district buildings through the use of monies already present with the district’s Building Improvement (capital reserve) Funds, and therefore at absolutely no cost to the taxpayers. I’d like to thank those who contributed their input during the months-long budget development process.”
It is estimated that the tax rate will go from $232.38 to $238.61 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 2.68 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.
The 2018/19 budget allocates $205,900 for new textbooks, $164,935 for new workbooks, $93,000 for new computer software, $60,950 for new library books and related resources and $219,700 for new instructional equipment, including computers and tablet devices.
The adopted budget includes monies to allow for the introduction of computer science and the Virtual Enterprises program at Huntington High School. It maintains the K-5 dual language program and expands the world language FLEX program to fifth grade.
The 2018/19 spending plan allots $10.708 million for bus transportation. The district is currently transporting 5,120 eligible students residing in the district to eight public schools as well as 39 private/parochial schools and 25 special needs schools in accordance with state law. Students are being transported by 53 large busses and 87 vans. State transportation aid is expected to total $3,261,914 next year.
Total state aid is projected to increase by a modest $566,607 or 3.35 percent to $17,487,062 in 2018/19. The district is allocating $1.4 million in surplus monies to hold down the tax rate.
Huntington School Board members will hold a public budget hearing on the 2017/18 plan on Monday, May 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium.