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It’s Budget Season Again in Miller Place

5 reasons why this year and the future look bright

On Wednesday, February 27 the new budget season gets underway in Miller Place. The BOE meeting will be held at MP High School at 7:30 and will feature Budget Workshop #1- Executive Summary: Tax Cap, Revenues.

If you wish to voice your concerns or just want to be in the loop so you know where your tax dollars are going, please mark your calendars with the following: (Also online here)

February 27, 2013 Board of Education Business Meeting
Budget Workshop #1- Executive Summary: Tax Cap, Revenues March 6, 2013 Budget Workshop #2 - Instructional: General Education Courses, Special Education, Information Technology March 13, 2013 Budget Workshop #3 - Non-instructional: Interscholastic Athletics, Co-curricular Activities (Clubs), Transportation, Debt Service, Employee Benefits March 20, 2013 Board of Education Business Meeting
Budget Workshop #4 - Budget Adoption May 14, 2013 Budget Hearing May 21, 2013 Budget Vote, Budget Trustee Election
6am - 9pm, North Country Road Middle School Gym

I am very confident that this year’s process will be a fairly smooth one and that Miller Place will be the envy of neighboring districts as we move into the future. MP will NOT have some of the budget issues of our neighboring districts because this BOE did not kick the can down the road.

Reasons to be hopeful:

  1. The Miller Place Teachers Association (MPTA) has a contract. Last year, raises were tied to an unknown CPI value which essentially held the budget hostage to an unknown. Thank you to the MPTA for working with this BOE and Central Office to get this large puzzle piece into place and providing us with known values for the next four years.
  2. We have two financial experts on the BOE with Michael Unger and Bryan Neyland. These two gentleman deal with budgets and finances every day in their day jobs so it is no surprise they have been able to slow the runaway train. All decisions made today consider the 3 to 5 year impacts to ensure financial sustainability today and tomorrow.
  3. Doug Ports has proven to be a stellar BOE President. Meetings with Doug Ports at the helm have featured a positive atmosphere, efficiency, clear communications, and results. I also credit Doug for forging an alliance between all five BOE members. In the past we saw public dissent between members which is not apparent now. (I think it is perfectly reasonable for BOE members to disagree but arrow-slinging should not be public.)
  4. Hiring Dr. Marianne Higuera has proven to be an excellent decision. Dr. Higuera has been working very closely with the BOE since this summer so she fully understands what this BOE wishes to see in her budget. Although the first budget we see is technically her budget, I fully expect it will be greeted positively by this BOE because of these many hours of collaboration. Dr. Higuera has been the district budget guru for years so we now have financial experts on both sides of the table who understand the math and the language of budget management.
  5. The Budget Process Committee featured representatives from a variety of diverse stakeholders so many voices were heard. The Committee was comprised of members from the community (including myself), BOE, Central Office, MP Teachers Association, Administration, clerical, maintenance, special education, PTO, Arts, Athletics, among others. We met several times over the winter to discuss effective ways to communicate the budget process. 


We are fortunate to be avoiding the pending fiscal crises that many districts will be facing this year and next.   I look forward to seeing you all at these important meetings and I will continue to offer my perspective on this process.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Wlodek February 27, 2013 at 12:37 PM
Captain, I agree. It would have been better to wait to see the budget before making those statements.
Scott A Mandia February 28, 2013 at 03:53 AM
Great news tonight at the BOE/Budget meeting: NO CUTS. FULL DAY KINDERGARTEN REINSTATED. WITHIN TAX CAP. I will summarize the meeting in a blog post tomorrow.
Wlodek February 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM
Great news? Except for the tax payer: The projected tax rate increase, under optimistic assumption of assessed value is 4.31 percent. Given that the housing market is still not stable the more realistic assumptions would yield a significantly higher tax increase of 5.31 percent. Both numbers are higher than in many districts which pierced the cap last year, for example. So being under the cap means little in Miller Place. Having said that I do acknowledge and agree with those who say that it was good to see for the first time that there were no cuts proposed and additions were put forward for the consideration by the BOE. If we could only keep the tax rate increase in the lower range I would be joining Scott in his enthusiasm. I encourage the BOE to move in that direction as we continue during this budget season.
Captain Howard Hawrey February 28, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Well said. Exactly what my initial feelings are. Sure no cuts and no scare tactics but get ready to pay! The taxpayer needs a break. I still don't see us getting one.
Dr Pragmatic February 28, 2013 at 04:24 PM
What a joke taxes are in every respect in suffolk county , borderline criminal if not laden with cronyism , smoke & mirror accounting & outright fraud as workers on the dole continually line their pockets at taxpayer expense. 4-5 % Increase ? where & who else in the private sector get these types of guarantees even as performance & school ratings erode ? & forget about the whole pension & benny's debacle. Home owners have to make due with drastically reduced home values & school districts / budgets that rode the real estate bubble needs to come back to earth. In particular look at the annual budget from 10-12 years ago & please explain why with essentially the same # of students , 20 + million needs to be added to the MPSD annual budget ? What a cannard


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