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New Mount Sinai School Budget Comes in Lower Than Last Year's

Mix of savings, givebacks and cuts helps keep budget within New York State tax cap.

Mount Sinai School District will put up a new budget for a vote on June 19 after last month.

The $54.6 million budget is a decrease of .53 percent over last year’s operating budget, according to a summary released by the school and posted onto its website. The increase in the tax levy in the proposed budget is 2.13 percent. The cost to homeowners is $233.43 per $100 of assessed valuation or $13.40 more per month on average.

In a statement accompanying the worksheet, the school board said that the district has seen a decrease in $2.8 million in state aid over the last four year and reduction of about $1.2 million in assessment generated dollars. Because of the loss of revenue, the school in order to come in under the state cap. Some high school and middle school sports teams were cut, existing teams had to forgo new equipment and clubs saw a 15 percent decrease in funding, among other cuts.

The report says that other savings in expenses came from an energy conservation program, salary and benefits negotiations with teachers and administrators, an administrative cost reduction and a negotiated move from self-funded to provider based health care.

Out of all the expenses, salaries make up the biggest item in the budget at $28.4 million for the next school year. To help offset that expense, the district negotiated with teachers and administrators for some givebacks. According to the school board, Mount Sinai teachers gave back $6,000 per year for the next five years and the 16 administrators are giving $3,500 per person next year for their health benefits.

The proposed budget shows a decrease of $543,455 in salaries over last year's approved budget. Benefits show an increase of $23,6275, mostly due to retirement, workman’s comp and disability insurance. The school projects a decrease in health and dental insurance payments.

Decreases also included computer instruction, which went down by $144,995 over last year’s budget.

The budget also shows major increases in handicapped and learning disability services ($505,110) and transportation ($127,775). The board attributes the increase in transportation to under-budgeting for this school year. Instructional equipment expenses went up by $24,575, more than double what it was last year.

The budget vote will be held on Tuesday, June 19 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Mount Sinai Elementary School.

See the complete breakdown of the budget in the attached PDF from the school district.

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Tom June 15, 2012 at 05:20 PM
It's hard times. Let them take a cut and then we can talk about it. If they are all you say they are then they should not have a problem working themselves back up the ladder within a couple of years. Right now we have bad teachers getting top pay and you know it.
Tom June 15, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Who's to say what top pay should be, the teachers?
Justin Time June 18, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Big deal...stayed within the limit...cut salaries and benefits, reduce reserve expense and the taxes will be cut. Then, concentrate on education and not retirement. Time to Walkerize!!
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