Roslyn Education Board unveils draft budget

The Roslyn Board of Education unveiled a proposed $104.5 million working budget for the 2016-17 school year last Thursday — up by 0.70 percent from last year.

The proposed budget calls for a 1.8 percent in regular education, a 6.2 percent in special education and a 6.1 percent increase in health insurance. 

“The reason why our health insurance cost is only up 6.1 percent is because of the negotiated increased contributions being made from our teachers, custodians and administrators,” said Joseph Dragone, Assistant Superintendent for Business. “They’re contributing more towards the cost of health insurance therefore they’re reducing the taxpayer’s cost to provide those benefits.” 

Gerard Dempsey said some of the expenses in special education spending will be offset by tuition revenue received from other school districts.

Three areas of the budget call for decreases. Employee retirement system will be down 15.4 percent, teacher retirement by 7.9 percent and central data processing by 10.5 percent.

Roslyn will also be able to retire over $800,000 of previous debt, a 31.1 percent decrease from last year’s budget, school officials said.

“As we go through this budget development process, we will be coming back to you with discussions about this debt service, how to handle it and what our recommendations are in terms of making a long term balanced fiscal picture for the community,” Dempsey told the board.

Dempsey said the reduction in debt service is good news. 

“That was a $12.75 million bond we issued back in 2002. It was refinanced and we’re now at the point where that’s being retired,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Joseph Dragone said it is a good thing that the debt is being reduced and on the flip side, it isn’t. 

“That money used to be an exclusion for us. It allowed us to levy taxes paid,” he said.

Dragone said that if the debt doesn’t go up the tax levy could increase by $650,000.

“We’re in the tax levy limit era and everybody understands that to be 2 percent,” Dempsey said..

“But clearly 2 percent is not 2 percent and this is the year since its institution that it is not 2 percent,” he said,

The tax levy limit which was 1.6 percent in 2015 will be 0.12 percent in the proposed budget.

“That means that the tax levy limit for this year has to be about $150,000 less than what it was last year,” Terry added. 

The new budget will also see new staff, additional programs, technology and supplies. 

Assistant Superintendent, Michael Goldspiel said the school wants to build on some of the STEM programs and state-of-the-art coding course it offered last year. 

“We also want to purchase of new security cameras, repair and replace of sidewalks,” Goldspiel said.

There will be a detailed presentation on the technology programs, people services, transportation budget innovations and highlights on Feb. 25. 

A budget won’t be adopted until mid April.

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Adedamola Agboola

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