The Miller Place Superintendent's proposed budget for the 2012-13 school year does not exceed the tax cap, but includes over 24 staff reductions and many academic, athletic and extracurricular cuts.
Superintendent Susan Hodun and Deputy Superintendent Marianne Higuera presented their proposed budget to the Board of Education, teachers and community members in attendance at Wednesday's first Budget Workshop at the .
The proposed budget of $64,681,269 is an increase of just .67 percent from this year and includes a 2.6 percent tax levy, the maximum allowed for the district under the new cap.
Among the many cuts in the proposed budget is the elimination of 22.5 full-time teachers and 2.5 clerical and support staff members, which would save the district $1,910,670. Seven co-curricular reductions include high school drama and robotics and Middle School National Junior Honor Society. The cuts would leave just four clubs each at the high school and middle school.
Another controversial reduction in the budget is the elimination of the entire athletic program, which would save the district $162,505. The announcement of these reductions was met with dismay by many parents and community members.
"If youre going to cut all the sports from the middle school I can't imagine the backlash, I think that's unacceptable," Miller Place parent Pete Conelli said. "What are these kids going to do all day? When I moved here nine years ago I picked this community for the school system and I hope I didn't make a mistake."
The community members were not alone, as board members also questioned the cuts proposed. After the presentation, board trustee Brian Neyland received a number of ovations from those in attendance as he challenged a number of aspects of the budget. He vowed that he and the board will do everything possible to find the funds necessary to save the programs currently on the chopping block.
"When we look at eliminating middle school sports...and then when we look at all the programs also eliminated, it adds up to 257,065 dollars," Neyland said. "That's less than one-third of one percent of our entire budget. I have to believe that in a 66 million dollar budget we can find 257 thousand to keep those progams. I think we have our work to do to try to find at least [that]."
The board assured the community that things can be done to save the programs and reminded everyone that this budget is not final.
“At this point in the process, everything is on the table,” Board President John Magnani said.
The budget overview is available above in PDF format. All budget information has also been made available on the district's website.
The next budget workshop is scheduled for March 7 and will focus on the Instructional (courses, etc.) portion of the budget.