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Commack Adopts $166M Budget, Cuts Administrators

Adminstrators cut, intramural sports and clubs reinstated, tax levy raised to 2.96 percent.

The Commack Board of Education has adopted a $166,081,826 budget for the 2011-2012 school year that cuts administration and custodial staff instead of sports, clubs or teaching positions. 

The budget now goes to a public vote on May 17.

The final proposed budget reflects a budget-to-budget increase of 3.33 percent from the current year. The resulting tax levy is 2.96 percent.

Despite an 8.94 percent budget-to-budget loss in state operating aid and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, the district did not cut teachers or increase class size. Instead, the staff reductions occurred on the administrative and custodial levels, with two assistant superintendents and several custodians and maintenance workers eliminated, for a savings of $769,000. Further reductions of four chairperson positions and one clerical worker saved $140,000 and $93,250 respectively.

"It comes at a cost, we're forced to maintain our integrity with fewer staff," said Commack School District Superintendent Donald James.

To absorb some of the workload in the administrative office, the district plans to add a district office administrative assistant, increasing staff costs by $160,000.

The budget also includes a one-year reinstatement of several intramural sports and co-curricular clubs on the middle and high school levels, at a cost of $200,000.

"Although these reinstatements are only for a year, we figured that one year in the life of a child is a long time, so it was worth it," said James, who added that the programs would be cut in the event of a failed budget or mandated tax cap.

The district will also embarck on a 4-year lease purchase agreement for new computers through BOCES, adding $195,954 to the 2011-2012 budget.

In terms of revenue, Commack schools received a net gain of $4,430,000. An increase in state building aid garnered $3.7 million for the district. Tuition paid by families outside of the district for their children to attend specialized programs within Commack totaled $130,000. The district also received a of $601,408 from Long Island Power Authority, in response to the over the summer.

Staff Reduction Summary:

Reduction Savings 2 Assistant Superintendents $479,000 Custodians $290,000 4 Chairpersons
$140,000 1 Clerical $93,250

Restorations and Additions Summary:

Restoration/Addition Cost 1 Year—Intramural Sports & Clubs $200,000 Technology Lease $195,000 District Office Administrative Assistant $160,000

Monetary Gains Summary:

Source Amount State Aid Recovered $1,300,000 Building Aid Increase $3,700,000 Tuition Program $130,000 LIPA Rebate $601,408

Future Meetings and the Budget Vote
The next Board of Education meeting and formal budget hearing will take place May 5 at 8 p.m. at Residents will vote on the budget on Tuesday, May 17.

Patch is looking for community input on the budget and upcoming school board elections, to be . Send your thoughts to kaitlyn.piccoli@patch.com.

chefcristo April 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM
IN A FEW WORDS, NO MORE TAX INCREASES, FEDERAL, STATE OR LOCAL! LET US CATCH OUR BREATH OR (AS ANOTHER CONTRIBUTOR PUT IT) GO THE WAY OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. AS IT IS, WE'RE BARELY MEETING OUR FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES (AND SOME OF US AREN'T), AND THAT'S PATHETIC IN THIS LAND OF PLENTY. TAX INCREASES ON TOP OF CURRENT FUEL AND OTHER PRICE INCREASES...HOW CAN THE GENERAL POPULATION EVEN APPROACH REMAINING SOLVENT?
Kaitlyn Piccoli April 28, 2011 at 07:42 PM
common sense, to answer the question you posed earlier about the teachers' pay increase: I just attended a Commack Community Association in which Dr. James spoke about the budget. He said that for the 2011-12 school year, teachers negotiated a 1% raise, in addition to a 3% step increase. So, yes, the raises and step increases they will receive next year more than double the 1.4% giveback from this current school year.
Michael April 28, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Excellent fiscal responsibility on the part of the Board. Yesterday, the Federal Reserve Bank released its inflation projections for Core Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) for 2011 through 2013. In 2011, the Fed predicts 1.1% to 2.0% inflation, for 2012, the Fed predicts 1.1% to 2.0% inflation, and for 2013, the Fed predicts 1.2% to 2.0% inflation. Therefore, its a safe bet that the Commack school district will be proposing budget increases that exceed the rate of inflation for the next two years at the very least.
common sense April 29, 2011 at 01:41 AM
Thanks Kaitlyn. So when most americans are still not getting increases or worse yet getting laid off ,Commack teachers are getting a 2.5% pay increase and the taxpayer once again foots the bill.
Pleasantonian May 07, 2011 at 01:07 AM
Michael, If you read the courier or went on the school district website you would have seen that Dr. James answered every question that was asked on the website. There have been so many opportunites to talk personally with the superintendant he met at homes community meetings he would have met you at your house or the diner. Did you go to any school board meetings, PTA meetings, council meetings called his office to ask your questions????? Why do people wait until its too late GET INVOLVED!!!

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