The Syosset school board adopted a $192,353,912 million budget Thursday night, which calls for an increase of 1.86 percent from last year – the lowest in 21 years.
“We don’t want to make changes to any program in the district,” Superintendent Carole Hankin said in front of a packed crowd at . “A child coming in would get the same excellent education."
The administration said that a no vote would only hurt taxpayers. They explained that a failed budget would mean the district would have to go to a contingency budget, and the accepted by teachers and the administration would not stand.
“We developed the budget as the same number that the state has the contingency," Hankin said. "Which means a no vote – a contingency vote – would have the budget go up. That is because at that time, the $3.3 million contract freeze our employees have voluntarily agreed to on their contacts, will go back in the budget."
Hankin said that this means a failed budget would actually increase peoples taxes, and warned of what a failed budget could mean for the schools.
"In a case that's probably unheard of, a failed budget increases the taxes," Hankin said. "Because once you put that $3.3 million in, we're already in austerity. So that increases our budget by that amount, the 1.86 percent increase would become 3.61, and we would have to at that point look at program changes and personnel changes."
The budget approved was not the same as the hard copy handed out to residents Thursday night. The document handed out states that the total budget figure comes in at $192,561,637 – about $210,000 more than the figure the administration gave.
The district was able to save money at the last minute through savings in special education, according to Hankin. But she declined to go into specific details after the meeting. Special ed amounts to $25.734 million of the budget.
The administration also said Syosset schools were hit with a new MTA tax – which Hankin called “unfair” during the meeting – as well as a new sewer tax. It was unclear exactly how much each new tax would cost the district.
While other school boards such as and have made property tax increase numbers available, no such information was presented to residents at Thursday’s meeting.
The crowd was supportive of Hankin and the administration during the meeting, applauding after a mention was made of the salary freeze agreement, and after a promotional video of the school district was played.
A full copy of the budget will be made available on the district website on April 18. The budget hearing will take place Monday, May 9 at 8 p.m. at South Woods. The takes place on May 17 from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Syosset elementary schools.