The held their first budget workshop last week with the task of doing what it has been able to do for the past three years; keep the tax levy under three percent.
The first draft, presented by superintendent Susan Agruso, showed a budget of $80.4 million, which is a budget to budget increase of 1.62 percent and a 2.45 percent tax levy.
“This district traditionally brings in a budget under three percent,” said Agruso. “And in that spirit we are staying within those numbers.”
According to Agruso, the district is trying to keep the number under the tax levy maximum, which is determined by the state. Agruso said she received information that day that would allow the district to increase the tax levy to 2.9 percent.
“We are trying to keep the number under that tax levy maximum. The board is not locked into that number and they could set the tax levy higher or lower,” said Agruso.
Added costs to the budget included $68,000 for staff and administration development to comply with the Annual Performance Professional Review and another $20,000 for district wide testing for new student assessments.
Consolidated mailing, however, will save the district $25,000, an opportunity found by Phil Kenter, assistant superintendent for business.
If the board sets a levy over what the state allows, it would require a super majority approval, which is an approval of at least 60 percent. If the budget were not to pass, the district could put it up for a second vote. If that fails, the budget and tax levy remains the same. Agruso said that more often than not the budget passes a little above a 50 percent voter approval.
“A zero increase results in the same tax levy being paid now. The problem is, with all the mandated increases we are incurring, how do you close the budget keeping the tax levy the same with all the mandates,” said Kenter. “(If that happens) we will have to cut at least $1.3 to $1.5 million additionally off the budget.”
Last year's tax levy increase was 2.92 percent.
“The last three years you see modest increases in the budget…the best type of budgeting is one that shows slow and steady increases. That is exactly what has been happening in Kings Park," said Kenter.
Tax Levy Percent