Huntington School District residents are preparing to go to the polls on Tuesday, May 21 to vote on a spending plan that will fund school operations during the 2019/20 academic year.
Residents will also cast ballots on a separate capital reserve fund proposition to authorize the expenditure of up to $3.846 million for various projects. Passage of the capital reserve fund proposition will have no effect on the tax rate.
The district is proposing to use capital reserve fund monies to replace the original student lockers installed in 1965 at J. Taylor Finley Middle School; replace the original three boilers installed in 1958 at Huntington High School; replace a large section of the high school roof; and replace the turf field at the high school along with installing enhanced perimeter safety netting and new goal posts.
By utilizing capital reserve funds to cover costs associated with renovation and repair projects, the district has avoided having to borrow tens of millions of dollars over the years and pay related interest expenses. The district’s current debt is about $1.5 million, one of the lowest such burdens on Long Island. It’s on a downward trajectory toward being completely wiped out in less than a decade.
A copy of the proposed budget, a 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.
The 2019/20 budget brochure has been 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 $133,488,443, an increase of 2.83 percent over the current year’s spending plan. If approved by residents, the 2019/20 budget would raise the tax levy by an estimated 2.58 percent.
A home assessed at the district average of $3,415 would see an increase of $220.27 before STAR program savings are applied.
It is estimated that the tax rate will go from $239.36 to $245.81 per $100 of assessed valuation, an increase of 2.69 percent. The district is budgeting for a drop of $50,000 in total assessed valuation to $44,913,399. Should assessed valuation come in higher than anticipated, trustees will be in a position to lower the actual increase when the tax rate is set early next fall.
“The proposed budget maintains K-12 class sizes below district guidelines and expands our library, digital media and school counseling programs across the district,” Huntington School Board President Jennifer Hebert said. “Huntington School District students and staff continue to receive accolades in core disciplinary subject areas, as well as in their extracurricular pursuits. Student participation and accomplishments in advanced coursework, as well as in STEM and interdisciplinary research, have reached an all-time high. Achievement gaps continue to narrow at all levels, as students are provided with extensive opportunities to further explore their interests.”
Superintendent James W. Polansky and his administrative team began preparing the 2019/20 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 without dissent. Residents will have the final say on Monday, May 21.
Budget highlights include:
- Provides for an extensive line-up of Regents, Honors and Advanced Placement courses in every academic area.
- Allocates $372,640 for new text/print resources, $41,900 for new library resources, $93,000 for new computer software and $200,000 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.
- Includes expansion of the library/makerspace opportunities across the district.
- Includes extension of the district’s counseling program into the sixth grade.
- Funds comprehensive art, music and physical education opportunities, including band, orchestra and chorus, marching band, music ensembles, specialized art courses and Project Adventure.
- Furthers interdisciplinary STEM initiatives throughout the district.
- Maintains the district’s K-5 dual language world language FLEX program.
- 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.
- Augments the district’s commitment to the high school science research program and robotics programs.
- Provides a complete program of adult-supervised, after-school extracurricular activities, including dozens of clubs for students.
- Funds concerts, science fairs, student drama club productions, school newspapers, the district art show, and much more.
Huntington School Board members will hold a public budget hearing on the 2019/20 plan on Monday, May 13 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].