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Voting Guide: Comsewogue Budget Put to the Test on Tuesday

What you need to know before you head out to vote.

Over the last few months, has had more back and forth on its budget than a ship on a stormy sea.

First, Superintendent Joseph Rella that sought to raised the tax levy by 4.5 percent. Then, when it seemed that there was no support for this budget, Rella said that they . After an open meeting asking for community input, the Superintendent put the 4.5 percent budget back on the table and the Board of Education adopted it.

We have attached two breakdows of the adopted school budget as PDFs to this article for you to review.

When Comsewogue community voters head out on Tuesday, they'll be voting on a budget that looks to pierce the New York State tax cap and on three open school board seats.

Here are some highlights about the proposed budget:

  • The budget proposes .
  • The proposed budget will be $79,114,408 for the 2012-2013 school year.
  • The proposed increase will cost homeowners $9.96 per $100 of assessed valuation.
  • The average cost is calculated to $299 per year based on an assessed value of $3,000, slightly above the average of $2,700 in the district, according to the budget presentation.
  • Major expenditures come from the expiration of teacher givebacks from last year ($1.5 million) and education grant funds that will also expire ($1.1 million).
  • In order to pass the budget, 60 percent of the voters must vote in favor of it.
  • If the budget is ultimately defeated and the district is forced to implement a zero percent increase in the tax levy, then it would need to cut $4.4 million from the existing budget.
  • After to Comsewogue School District, increased funding will limit layoffs to 19, as opposed to the 22.6 positions originally suggested.

The budget :

  • Elementary school expenditure cuts total to $468,000 in savings coming from cutting three classroom sections, cuts to specials that relate to three sections, elimination of a math coaching position, reducing librarian services and reducing AIS services.
  • To save money, at all school libraries.
  • Expenditure cuts to the middle school total $312,000 by making class sizes of 27 students and some selected classes at 30 students
  • Expenditure cuts to the high school include collapsing certain sections of high school classes and changing health requirements totaling $390,000 in savings.
  • Reduction in various administrative costs, secondary support services, special education and not replacing one retiring employee will total $359,000 in savings.
  • Reducing athletics costs, transportation reductions, administration efficiencies and extracurricular budget cuts and review class cuts will save $311,850 in savings.

Three school board seats are up for grabs this year.

  • There is little fanfare as three sitting board members – John Swenning, Lance Brown, Ed Barry – running for the three open seats.

According to the school district's website, the budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 15 in the from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Lon Cohen May 14, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Could be a typo. I'll look into it to see what the actual number should be.
Fed Up and Tapped Out May 15, 2012 at 03:40 AM
If the budget does get defeated twice and we go to 0% increase, the district has chosen to eliminate the kindergarten and keep sports/clubs intact. Kinda feel like I am being held hostage, have to find hundreds (closer to over a thousand) of dollars more to pay taxes or not have children in kindergarten. Guess the parents of HS athletes have no problem though because no matter what they get to keep on playing while everyone else suffers.
Living in Brookhaven May 15, 2012 at 12:50 PM
We are are being held hostage... That is the point. People without kids want to vote no because we cannot take the constant bleeding of money. People with kids feel like if they vote no the children will suffer. The problem is we all suffer. I cant afford to vote yes. To be honest why would I want to? I havent been shown anything exceptional that these kids have been given, Our graduation and Regent diploma reciepients arent anything impressive. The kids and the teachers automatically suffer if we vote no. Why? Why cant the super take a salary hit? Why do we have to have multiple administrators? You people should do more with less. NOT THE KIDS AND THE TEACHERS!
Fred May 15, 2012 at 01:34 PM
There is nothing special about Comsewogue, or any Long Island district except the costs. Plenty of districts in PA, VA and NC have equal or better quality schools at a fraction of the costs. I see also see no reason in voting yes, even if you have a kids in school. The money you would save could go to private band lessons, sports etc. Also, despite what the district will have you believe, raising taxes actually lowers your property values, since the more a buyer has to pay in taxes a year, the less they can offer/pay on the actual house.
Lon Cohen May 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM
According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Susan M. Casali, the typo on page 39 of the budget PDF should be "$134,112" for the assistant principal salary, not over $1 million.

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