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Breaking Down the 2012-13 Budget: A Rocky Point Voters Guide

Patch takes a closer look at Rocky Point's adopted budget and Board of Education Trustee Vote for the 2012-'13 fiscal year.

School Budget votes take place Tuesday and Rocky Point residents will flock to the poll to for the 2012-'13 fiscal year.

The newly installed New York State tax levy cap adds a new wrinkle to school budgets this year. Districts are not allowed to increase the tax levy by over two percent (exact number varies per district), and if they do, the budget can only pass by a supermajority of 60 percent.

Rocky Point will be piercing the tax levy cap. The cap for the district is 1.84 percent, and the budget includes a levy increase of 3.2 percent. Because of this, the budget will need to pass by the supermajority. Last year's budget passed by a 67 percent supermajority, before a cap was in place.

In the proposed budget:

  • Regular state aid will increase by $605,035 (3.15 percent).
  • The total revenue increase is $2,061,434 (2.97 percent).
  • All curricular and co-curricular programs are retained.
  • An additional five Advanced Placement courses will be available.
  • The district's Next STEP initiative continues.

If the budget does not pass by a supermajority of 60 percent, and the tax levy had to be held to the cap of 1.84 percent, the district estimates it would need an additional $600,000 in cuts, including:

  • Move to half-day Kindergarten (Removal of 5.5 full-time employees)
  • Reduction of an additional 8 full-time employees.
  • Eliminate Middle School sports.
  • Eliminate all co-curricular activities at , and .

In addition to the budget, residents will place their votes in the Board of Education Trustee Election.

The seats of John Lessler and Scott Reh are up for election and both will be running for reelection. Two new candidates, Edward Casswell and Aisha Grundmann, will run for the seats. Click here for video from Meet the Candidates night on BOE.TV.

Scott Reh

A graduate of Rocky Point High School, Reh has lived in the community for 43 years. He is currently employed as the Director of Athletics, Physical
Education, Health, Nursing, and Grounds in the Mount Sinai School District. Reh
has been elected to the Board since winning a special election for the 2010-2011 school year. 

John Lessler

A Rocky Point alum, Lessler has been a community member for 27 years and a member of the Board of Education since 2009. He works as a land and
management specialist for the Town of Brookhaven.

Aisha Grundmann

Grundmann is a parent of two who said she wants to assist in bringing the District’s schools to a higher level of excellence. She looks to continue the
Board’s mission of delivering programs that increase student achievement.

Edward Casswell

Casswell has been a Rocky Point resident for 21 years and currently serves as the President of the Suffolk County High School Principals Association and Principal of Center Moriches High School.

Polls open at 7 a.m. at the Gymnasium, and close at 9 p.m.

Charles Gerace May 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Its such a sensitive issue to discuss because you cant really have the conversation without offending others. No one who opposses the budget has an issue with the teachers. They do a wonderful job with our children and we are very grateful for that. People are upset over yet another increase. What will next years pitch be? The tax payer, who is not employed by the school, loses no matter what. Either are taxes are increased again or programs for our children are cut. 78% of this budget is in salaries, benefits and retirement packages and yet that is not seriously considered to be something that needs to be re-evaluated. So the increases will continue to go on, year after year. Most of the people I know would like to see the district become fiscially responsible. To operate within its means as the rest of us do. The tax payer and the voter wants to feel as if the districts feel our pain. That they understand that we've just gone through the worst recession since the great depression and they're doing what they can to streamline the budgets. That some of us were fired or laid off and the last thing we want to hear about is another tax increase. Unfourtantly, what seems to be coming out in these budgets is a belief that the districts can do as they like and just pass those expenses onto the tax payer. Thats what people are upset about it. If we truly are in this together, then we need to start acting liking it.
RP Parent May 15, 2012 at 12:44 PM
I refuse to vote in the principal and the athletic administrator for the Board. Sorry, but your positions scream "bias".
RP Parent May 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM
So true, it's that 78% part taht needs to be restructured. I'm all for teh teachers making a decent wage, they deserve it. But the lucrative retirement plan is outdated. The money used to support those programs (tax dollars) isn't what it used to be. The Auto industry collapsed for the same reason. Same as Social security etc. Times change and everyone has to give up a little to make things work for future generations. I'm quite sure I'll be working passed 65 as times have changed.
Captain Howard Hawrey May 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
Total "conflict of interest". I hope RP residents see it that way no matter how fair the candidates may claim to be.
Edward Norton May 15, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Exactly my thoughts as well. I know that Ed and Scott are good guys. But I feel that there is definitely a conflict of interests there. Its like letting the inmates run the asylum to vote them in. I think even the most apathetic voter could see that.

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