Nearly all teachers in the Hauppauge School District will return to work in the fall, Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss said in her preliminary budget presentation to the Board of Education Tuesday.
There will be no teacher cuts due to budgetary reasons, but three educators on the elementary level will be let go due to lower enrollment. Two of those teachers though, have already announced they will be retiring at the end of the school year, Sullivan Kriss said.
All together, the preliminary budget is currently set at $101,612,222. That figure is a 3.01-percent increase from the current school year. The proposed tax levy is estimated to be $79,490,508, a 3.6 percent increase, which is within the state's tax levy limit, once the numbers are figured into the state's formula.
Teachers will receive a .5-percent step increment and 1.25-percent raise will be granted. All other contracts will be frozen.
Teaching assistants will receive a 1.5-percent raise, but the wrap-around supplemental medical coverage plan will be eliminated. The same goes for clerical staff.
Administrators will not receive a step increment at all, but will receive a 1.25-percent raise.
"We really worked hard when doing the contracts to balance out when increments occur so that as best we could smooth out the contractual obligations we had," the superintendent said.
One of the budget items that will have a large impact on the school district, is a $457,069 reduction in state aid. The district has seen a trend of significant state aid decreases over the past five years. Since the 2008-2009 school year, the district has experienced a $2.3 million reduction.
"We pay an enormous amount of taxes in the state, but they don't come to us," Sullivan-Kriss said. "They're being filtered to to low-wealth districts." She asked the board and audience to lobby state senators to press the governor to keep the money generated by Long Island in the area, and not redirected upstate to lower-wealth schools.
Helping to close the gap is a strong revenue increase. Hauppauge schools will see a $460,000 revenue increase next school year - partly due to increased PILOTs (payments in lieu of taxes) from area businesses, tuition into the district and rentals from preschools at the administration building.
A potential threat to the district's revenue however, comes at the federal level with sequestration, which would result in a series of automatic cuts to U.S. agencies, totaling $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
If it occurs, Hauppaugue is looking at a 5 percent reduction in title monies, including for special education. If it happens next school year, the cut would be even more drastic at 9-percent.
"That's just another revenue stream we have to plan that we may be losing," Sullivan-Kriss said.
When it comes to tax rate increases, the 2013-14 school budget will translate to an estimated increase of $202 in Islip and $195 in Smithtown on the average home. Those projections are expected to fluctuate as they are based on last year's tax assessments. The current year's figures are not yet available.