The Huntington School Board has begun the long process of finalizing a budget to fund district operations during the 2018/19 school year.
Trustees held the first of what will be a series of public meetings on the budget this past Monday night in the Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School auditorium. Superintendent James W. Polansky presented the first draft of the budget, offering a general overview of the document and then going line-by-line through the sections that fund the board of education, central administration and transportation.
Many key budget variables are still up in the air, including the district’s assessed valuation, the state aid it will be allotted in the state budget due April 1, enrollment in the kindergarten program and the staffing needed to educate the youngsters and a handful of other expensive areas. Current expenditure and revenue projections will be updated as more information becomes available.
The first budget draft indicates the district is projecting significant increases in costs related to plant operations, classroom instruction and supervision, the program for students with disabilities, occupational education, bus transportation, health insurance, Social Security and the state’s Teachers’ Retirement System assessment.
A copy of Mr. Polansky’s presentation along with the first budget draft are posted on the district website at www.joshuacarnes.info. All of the budget meetings are open to the public. Residents are given two opportunities to address trustees at each meeting.
“The 2018/19 budget development process will be among the more challenging we have faced in recent years,” Mr. Polansky said. “With a significant increase in such mandated costs as health insurance and retirement system contributions and little to no increase in state aid expected, districts across the state will be looking for ways to trim costs and increase other revenues in an effort to stay within tax cap parameters.”
The first budget draft will be updated over the next two months, culminating on Monday, April 16 when the 2018/19 budget will be adopted by trustees. District residents will vote on the proposal on Tuesday, May 15.
The next budget meeting is set for Monday, March 12. It will focus on the codes that fund employee benefits, debt service, fund transfers and capital items.