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School Board Approves $192 Million Budget

The increase of 1.86 percent is the lowest in 21 years.

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.

Whistleblower April 23, 2011 at 08:53 PM
The 192M in the 2011 budget vote is being represented as a 1.86% increase over last years budget, however this is really misleading. What the School District doesn’t want you to know (they don’t show it in the posted budget) is that they only spent 168,895,296 of the budget and moved $17,495,551 to reserves which now total $32,869,582. So the 168M was actual and the 186M was the forecast, therefore the School is asking for $22M more in this years budget than they spent last year which is an increase of over 14%. These accounting tricks were brought to us by none other than Carole Hankin, of Cendant accounting fraud fame, and illegal in the private sector. See: http://money.cnn.com/2000/04/05/companies/cendant/ So when anyone is concerned about a NO vote meaning we have no money for the kids, think again. We have 32M in reserves even if we go to Contingency. All this information can be found at LICARE.org Syosset Central School District 2010 186,390,847 Budget 168,895,296 actual expense last year (17,495,551) moved to reserves 32,869,582 total reserves
IRV April 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM
This is unbelievable, but par for the course in Syosset Central School District. In these tough time, if they didn't spend 17M last year why wouldn't they at the very least reduce this years forecasted budget down from 186M to 162M and use the 17M or even the 32M from the reserve for any shortfall. These hidden budget tricks are what we were wondering about as to where the money is going. What are they planniong on spending the 32M reserve on? do they have to tell us or evemn ask for our vote? Are we going to let them get away with this? It sound like going to a contincency budget is a far cry from being a problem. Syosset School District needs a NIFA type organization. We have to Vote NO. There is no risk as the money is there(just hidden).
Klinghoffer April 23, 2011 at 11:21 PM
I have been asked to publish this information for the residents of Syosset. You should not allow you School Board or your School Superintendant to bamboozle you. Although different in every state, there are rules that must be followed. http://arkansased.org/about/pdf/sample_budgets.pdf This link is an example of what a school budget is supposed to look like (very simple example) and what should be made public. I am not familiar with NY law, however in Arkansas we have to show Actual verses Proposed. (please read the Instructions at the top, as this will make it clear) We call the actual category last years budgeted expenditures (same as actual). Looks like you have a dirty School Board
Michael April 25, 2011 at 03:30 AM
So, Syosset Budget last year was 186M. We ended up spending 168.5M so we had a 17.5M surplus that they did not tell the community about. We are now being asked to budget for 192M? Isn't this 24M more than we spent last year? If the teachers are having a salary freeze, and we overbudgeted 17.5M dollars last year, isn't the school board asking us to budget for a lot more than we need? Why would any taxpayer vote for a 192M budget when there is no evidence that we need that much money Instead the evidence is that the budget should be about $20,000,000 less. Isn't this even worse than giving the governemt a tax free loan and then getting a refund on April 15th? In ths School tax situation the School just keeps the money and spends if we vote yes. We don't get overpayments back from the school like we do from the Treasury on April 15th. How can any fair minded American vote yes knowing that even if they could afford it themselves, it could hurt their fellow American taxpayer neighbor.
garyG September 07, 2011 at 02:19 AM
I received a call from a friend in Omaha today. It seems that our incoherent school superinendent opened her mouth once again, made a statement to the press and brought to light gain how such an utterly useless school superintendent is being paid 500K by ignorant Syosst taxpayers. It seems that she answered a question about the use of technology in the 21st century like google, facebook and twitter and she rambled incoherently about the strides Syosset schools are making in keeping ahead by citing the teaching of Chinese to kindergarten students and Russian to our first graders. People from different parts of the country are laughing at all of the Syosset taxpayers for keeping her on. When is this going to end?

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