After passing a budget last year that exceeded the tax levy cap and passed with over 60 percent of the vote needed, the 2013-14 Rocky Point School District budget proposed by Superintendent Michael Ring would not pierce the cap.
At Monday's budget hearing at Rocky Point High School, Ring proposed a $74,261,582 budget, which would be an increase of 3.75 percent over last year's. It includes a projected levy increase of 3.56 percent, which is at the cap for the district.
"We're in a much better position than other districts are, and even in a better position than we were," Ring said. "Last year when we needed to pierce the cap, not only was our cap threshold very low, but also that was when we were facing a loss of $700,000 of the last piece of federal jobs money.
"When we pierced the cap we did it for roughly $700,000...now that that cost is back in the general fund we're able to balance the budget. Now our threshold is higher, but every dollar of that is going to the pension plan."
During the meeting, there were no public responses or questions about the budget. The Rocky Point Teacher's Association, however, did address a letter sent to district members by the board which they found offensive.
Editor's Note: The letter is attached as a PDF document above.
"The content of the letter is insulting, counterproductive and destructive to the spirit and cooperation that must exist between all members of the Rocky Point School District," said RPTA president Michael Friscia.
Friscia said that the RPTA will be sending the board a letter that expresses their concerns and includes an invitation to meet and discuss things. Ring and the board defended the letter and have posted it on the district website.
"It is to understand where Rocky Point is in the context of other districts and in the context of the macroeconomic environment, which includes things like the tax cap and a recession," Ring said. "It's saying, 'let's coming together and work towards solutions that are realistic in the current environment.'"