Hauppauge school officials are looking to district taxpayers for input on making tough decisions for the 2012-13 school budget through a tax cap survey.
District officials are asking all residents to take a few minutes to fill out a tax cap survey created by the Suffolk County Superintendents Association, in combined effort with K-12 Insight, by Feb. 3. The free survey quizzes district taxpayers about their general knowledge of the tax cap and asks them to rank what programs are most important to preserve next year.
"Take a look at the survey and share it with people you know," said Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss at the Jan. 24 board meeting. "It is my understanding we will be able to get the results both for our community and Suffolk County as a whole."
Residents were notified by an email blast late last week and a link to the tax cap survey is posted on the school district's website.
The six-page survey can be broken down into several segments: a section on knowledge of the tax cap, ranking of school programs, comments, and demographics.
The introduction to the tax cap survey reads:
As Superintendents of Long Island school districts, we are deeply concerned that forced budget reductions will negatively affect our students. As you know, a property tax cap has been put into place to bring relief to New York residents in these tough times. While the tax cap is meant to help our communities, we are concerned that reductions in programs and services will decrease our ability to teach our children.
In the first section about the tax cap, residents are asked to answer six yes-or-no questions about the tax cap and its impact on local districts. One question reads, "Are you aware that more than 70% of the budget is spent on providing direct services to students? This part of the budget covers the salaries and benefits of teaching staff."
Next, under the section titled "Potential Cuts to Programs and Services," responders are asked to choose what they feel is the most important of 11 educational programs and five extra-curricular or non-instructional programs. Parent music pick between educational programs including: elementary class size, instructional programs, occupational education, secondary class size, music, Advanced/College courses, science research, art, high school electives, library media and foreign language programs.
District taxpayers are then given the freedom to respond how they would make cuts if they were superintendent of the district, in an open response box allowing up to 750 characters.
Hauppauge school officials have estimated the district faces making potentially , if staying within the new 2 percent tax levy cap. If the district proposes a higher tax levy, they will need to get 60 percent of voters to approve the higher budget.
Kriss said she plans to publicly present her recommended 2012-12 budget to Hauppauge Board of Education at its Feb. 28 meeting.