14 Sep 2014
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Bellmore-Merrick School Budget Needs $2.2 Million Cut

The Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District’s Board of Education revealed that more than $2 million still needs to be cut out of the proposed 2013-14 school budget, and some programs may be affected.

According to Chapter 97 of the Laws of 2011, the allowable tax levy is $106,854,420. With that, combined with other revenue and the cost of the current budget, the total comes to $137,717,444. That means $2,119,483 still needs to come off of the books.

This proposed budget represents a 3.65 percent increase from last year, which is the maximum allowed by law. Taxes also jump up 5.6 percent, or $5,752,977, and that may change based on the number of people that file property damage assessments from Hurricane Sandy.

The reserves have dropped as well, as, in 2012, they contained $4,361,963 less than 2010. Early estimates say that could drop more than $6 million by June of 2014.

“When you make a tighter and tighter budget, you have less money left over at the end of the year,” Cynthia Strait Régal, the deputy superintendent of business, said.

Increased costs were cited including:
  • Retirement Systems
  • Health Insurance Premiums
  • Sewer Charges
  • Tax Certiori Obligations

Benefits currently account for 25.3 percent of the total 2013-14 budget, up from 23.2 percent in 2012-13.

In order to make up for losses, the following may be lost:
  • Summer school for all grades except current seniors
  • Tempo social workers
  • Athletes Helping Athletes (a local solution will be developed for ’14-’15)
  • One JV game per season (non-football)
  • One less assistant coach due to low participation
  • One administrative position
  • 11 interns
  • 5.5 teacher full time employees due to low enrollment at Merrick Avenue Middle School
  • Additional six full time employees throughout the high school buildings
  • One full-time and one part-time clerical position
  • Two special education department positions
  • Last Resort: Elimination of the nine-period day at middle schools.

The district also acknowledged that the following will definitely be kept:
  • Advance Science Research
  • Project Lead the Way
  • Virtual Enterprise
  • Gilder Lehrman Social Studies Program
  • AP & College Level Courses
  • Sports and Clubs (Grades 7-12)
  • Music and Art
  • Full Guidance and Pupil Personnel Service
  • Senior Experience
  • Technology

“We work very hard to try and maintain programs as much as possible,” Strait Régal said. “We’ve been relatively fortunate that there’s been limited effects to our programs the past couple of years.”

For more on the 2013-2014 proposed budget, click here.

What do you think the district should do to cut costs? Tell us in the comments section below.

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