The Great Neck School District proposes a 2.08 budget increase for the 2014-2015 school year, bringing the budget to $213,502,695. Superintendent of Schools Thomas Dolan said that even with “stiff economic pressures” there were minimal reductions and the 2014-2015 budget is a “strong foundation for future budgets.”
The preliminary working budget was presented at an informal public budget hearing at the Board of Education’s March 10 public action meeting.
Dolan assured that this proposed budget maintains the “core” of the school district’s strong educational program and maintains the district’s commitment for small class size at the elementary level. Kindergarten classes are limited to, at the most, 19 students. For children in first and second grade, 22 students is the limit and for third, fourth and fifth grade students, the limit is 24. Dolan did note, though, that the actual average class size is below the highest numbers.
Dolan said, too, that this budget allows for the continuation and expansion of “technology in the children’s hands.” He said that “retirements will be absorbed,” with positions sometimes combined when an employee retires.
And Dolan reported that the Appeals Court found in favor of school districts and that certiorari money that the county wanted would go to the school districts. These funds helped save the district from anticipated cuts.
John Powell, assistant superintendent for business, reported that the outside audits have granted the district the highest rating and the district’s credit rating too is high, with a Moody’s AAA rating. He also reported that in each rating that compares local equivalent school districts, Great Neck is always among the highest districts listed. And, he added, “We are positioned for future uncertainties.”
Members of the school district’s Board of Education all emphasized that the district has been able to maintain the educational system they all value, while still maintaining a strong financial position.
As for revenue, the proposed $213,502,695 budget for the coming school year anticipates only $6,933,657 in state aid, $6,612,875 in miscellaneous revenue and an anticipated $690,000 from the fund balance. Appropriated reserves are at $2,017,000. The amount to be raised by real property tax is estimated at $197,248,863. Percentage-wise, revenue breaks down as follows: 92.40 percent to be raised by property tax; 3.24 percent from state aid; 1.27 percent from appropriated reserves; and 3.09 percent listed as miscellaneous.
The preliminary 2014-2015 budget allocations are as follows: 75 percent for instruction; 6.21 percent for transportation; 4.12 percent for general support; 1.63 percent for adult education and recreation; 10.02 percent for buildings and grounds; 1.81 percent for capital projects; 1.21 percent for debt service.
A second budget meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 31, at Great Neck South High School. Following the recognition of South High students at 7:30 p.m. will be a public action meeting that will include the budget discussion.