Hauppauge school district's Board of Education put $1.2 million in excess funds leftover from the 2010-2011 school year towards future construction and renovation projects.
Board trustees unanimously voted to place $1,214,901 in excess funds into the Capital Reserve Fund for future construction projects to upgrade the district's buildings and reduce the possible need for future borrowing.
"It is the administration's recommendation to select Option A to transfer the $1.2 million to the Capital Reserve Fund to allow us to continue much needed upgrades to the community's facilities," said James Stucchio, assistant superintendent of business and operations.
Over the past year, the Board of Education has used money in the Capital Reserves to replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at Bretton Woods Elementary School. Similar upgrades are needed at Forest Brook and Pines Elementary Schools, Stucchio said.
"We know besides the unit ventilators, we will be looking towards roof work that needs to be done across the district," Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss said.
Stucchio gave a presentation at the Oct. 11 board meeting showing how the district managed to save $1.2 million over the 2010-2011 school year despite cuts to state aid. The school board and district saved in three areas: the teacher retirement incentive through New York State, bond refinancing and the tax anticipation notes.
Hauppauge schools saved significantly on teachers' salaries when six teachers choose to take the retirement incentive offered under former state Gov. David Patterson, allowing the district to replace retiring senior teacher with new teachers at a lower salary.
The district also to have lower interest rates between 3 percent and 5 percent.
"The bond refinancing was probably the largest savings in my career here at Hauppauge," Stucchio said.
In addition, Stucchio said the school district managed to underspend the 2010-2011 budget by $5,632,282.
"It was mostly due to the six teachers who retired. We also saved in other contractual demands," he said, referring to changes in BOCES.
The Board of Education chose to transfer the excess money to the Capital Reserve Funds rather than using the $1.2 million to lower .
"Reducing the tax levy will lower the levy permitted under the cap for next year," Stucchio said, noting New York State's new 2 percent cap. "This may require programming and staffing reduction."
If the board had chosen to reduce the tax levy, Islip Town homeowners would have seen the tax rate increase drop from 1.87 percent to 0.22 percent, saving $83 per year. Town of Smithtown homeowners would have seen the tax rate increase drop from 5.22 percent to 3.51 percent, saving $89 per year.