Huntington UFSD residents will go to the polls on Tuesday from 6 am to 9 p.m.

Budget and Capital Reserve Vote & Trustee Election on Tuesday

Huntington UFSD residents will go to the polls on Tuesday from 6 am to 9 p.m.

May 11, 2018

Huntington School District voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, May 15 to cast ballots on the proposed school budget for 2018/19 and two capital reserve fund propositions and to elect three members to the board of education. Voting will be held at Huntington High School from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The proposed budget totals $129,812,991, an increase of 2.85 percent over the current year’s spending plan. The district’s proposed tax levy increase is $475,611 below the cap established by state law. Huntington’s tax levy will increase and estimated 2.68 percent if residents vote to approve the spending plan on next week’s ballot.

The proposal on next Tuesday’s ballot provides for the continuation of a complete slate of Regents, honors and Advanced Placement courses, comprehensive art, music and physical education programs, including marching band, orchestra, chorus, band, music ensembles and specialized art courses and interscholastic athletics for grades 7-12.

The SEARCH and Math Olympiad programs will continue for academically talented fifth and sixth graders. An extensive program of special education classes and services will also continue, as will academic intervention services for students needing assistance to meet state standards.

The proposed budget furthers interdisciplinary STEM initiatives throughout the district, maintains the K-5 dual language program and expands the intermediate grade level world language FLEX program and includes the introduction of computer science and the Virtual Enterprises program at the high school.

Funding is provided for 64 athletic teams and 100 coaching positions along with a full-time athletic trainer. The budget also keeps the current bus transportation program in place and maintains the district’s commitment to the high school’s science research and robotics programs.

There are monies for the high school college counseling center and extra-curricular activities at Jack Abrams STEM Magnet School, Woodhull Intermediate School, J. Taylor Finley Middle School and Huntington High School, including drama club productions, student councils and student newspapers. Intramural programs are also funded.

The budget includes $205,900 for new textbooks, $164,935 for new workbooks, $60,950 for new library books, $93,000 for computer software and $219,700 for instructional equipment, including new computers.

Trustees allocated $1,400,000 in reserves to help mitigate the estimated tax rate increase, which has been projected at 2.68 percent. The district projects its assessed valuation will stay flat at $45,105,429.

Trustees will set the tax levy in the fall when final property assessment figures are available. Should the total assessed valuation rise above the projected amount, trustees would be in a position to lower the estimated tax rate increase. School officials estimate the 2018/19 tax rate will be $238.61. Taxes would rise on the average assessed home in the district by $213.69 before STAR program savings are calculated.

Capital Reserve Proposition

Residents will also have an opportunity to vote on a Building Improvement Fund/Capital Reserve Fund proposition that includes $7.151 million worth of projects. The Huntington School District currently has about $8.3 million in available capital reserve fund monies.

If voters support release of the funds, property taxes will not increase since the monies are already in place. No new revenues are required. The funds represent dollars previously provided to the district by taxpayers that weren’t needed to pay for regular school operations because of tight fiscal management and economizing. The source of the funding is the annual transfer of surplus monies from the district’s general fund to the two existing Building Improvement Funds.

The projects that will be on the May 15 ballot include:

Flower Hill Primary School
• Install a security vestibule addition: $100,000
• Replacement of the building’s roof: $1,560,000
Jefferson Primary School
• Replacement of the building’s roof: $1,500,000
• Tile replacement in two student and three faculty bathrooms: $65,000
Southdown Primary School
• Replacement of the building’s roof: $1,560,000
Washington Primary School
• Install a security vestibule addition: $100,000
Woodhull Intermediate School
• Replace two boilers: $800,000
• Tile replacement in 12 classroom bathrooms: $36,000
• Renovate and repave the parking lots: $705,000
J. Taylor Finley Middle School
• Replace floor tiles and install new seating in the LGI/Auditorium: $600,000
Huntington High School
• Replace two “roll-up” doors: $125,000
Total: $7,151,000 (Estimated and subject to bidding.)

New Building Improvement Fund

Residents are also being asked to authorize creation of a new 2018 Building Improvement Fund when they go to the polls on Tuesday, May 15. The new fund would replace two similar ones that are expiring.

It would exist “for a probable term of five years” and be funded in an “ultimate amount” of $1.5 million, according to the text of the proposition. The purpose of the fund is to cover costs “in whole or in part” related to capital improvements to the district’s facilities, “including but not limited to replacement/repair of the high school’s turf athletic field, reconstruction and masonry work and site work.

The new fund would be capitalized with monies transferred into it from the district’s existing repair reserve fund, surplus budget funds, regular budget appropriations and interest generated by the monies themselves. No bonds will be sold or monies borrowed to fund it.

Use of successive Building Improvement Funds has allowed the Huntington School District to largely avoid the need for selling bonds and incurring debt service payments to update its facilities. The district has one of the lowest levels of debt of any school system on Long Island. By avoiding bonding, taxes have been kept lower than they otherwise would have been.

As is the case for the current funds, existing budget monies would once again be used to capitalize the new fund. If in any given year the district spends less money than it had originally anticipated, these surplus monies could be transferred by the Huntington School Board into the new Building Improvement Fund.

Monies contained in the Building Improvement Fund can only be used for capital projects, such as new school roofs, windows, doors, boilers, facility improvements, etc. None of the monies can be used for general school district expenditures.

Residents would still have to give permission before the district actually begins any project. The district would be able to apply for state aid on any capital project it completes.

Trustee Election

Residents will also have an opportunity to elect three members to the Board of Education. The top three vote-getters will serve three year terms commencing on July 1 and running through June 30, 2021. Candidates include current trustees Christine Biernacki and Thomas DiGiacomo and challengers Lynda D’Anna, Michelle Deegan and Alvin White. (Longtime trustee Emily Rogan is retiring and not seeking re-election.)

Eligibility to Vote

To be eligible to vote in the election, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, a resident of Huntington School District for at least 30 days and be registered to vote in a general election or with the school district. For more information contact District Clerk Joanne Miranda at (631) 673-2126 or [email protected].

A copy of the line-by-line proposed budget is available by visiting the Huntington School District’s website at A 12 page brochure containing information about the budget and capital propositions and profiles of the four Huntington School Board candidates has been mailed to all addresses in the district. The publication is also available on the district website.

Contact Superintendent James W. Polansky at [email protected] for more information about the budget and capital reserve propositions.