Commack School District's 2012-13 school budget was passed by one of the highest margin within the last decade, according to Superintendent Donald James.
Commack voters by vote of 2,977 to 1,723, or 63.34 percent, on Tuesday. By comparison, last year Commack's budget passed by a fraction less - 62.83 percent. This is the school district's strongest passing percentage since 2000, which James claimed is due to the diligent outreach to the community and development of a budget well under the state's tax levy cap.
"Throughout the budget development process, the Board and I took great pains to listen to stakeholders representing various view point in an effort to align the budget and future education programs with the community's expectations," James said.
During the course of the budget development, James and Commack's Board of Education had meetings with each of the eight PTA executive boards, two special community input sessions at Burr Intermediate School on March 28 and Sawmill Intermediate School on April 16. The superintendent said he and board trustees also met with several community-based organizations including Commack Soccer League, Commack Youth Organization, Commack Little League and Commack Youth League prior to the budget's adoption.
"We heard from many people, and what resonated was their desire to maintain Commack School' level of academic excellence, as recognized in U.S. News and World Report with Commack High School being named as one of the 'Best 100 High Schools in the Nation,'" James said.
The superintendent also credited the school board's ability to come up with budget at a 2.6 tax levy increase, well under the district's allowable 4.1 percent state tax levy cap for the strong public support.
Other districts didn’t fare as well. Residents of the to pierce the state cap and managed to garner only a 54 percent approval. getting 58.7 percent of the yes ballots, only 33 individual votes shy of the needed 60 percent super-majority.
Commack's Board of Education election was decided by a slim margin, as challenger Daniel Fusco lost to incumbent Deborah Guber by less than 10 percent - 2,012 votes to 2,453.
Fusco offered his personal congratulations to Guber and hoped that through his campaign, he encouraged residents to take a greater interest in getting involved in the school district, attending Board of Education meetings and a new light to issues.
"I would like Ms. Guber to move forward with conveying a message to the rest of the BOE [Board of Education] making sure that our children always come first. All of the children's programs should remain in tact and not fact the budgetary axe each year due to contractual raises," Fusco said in a statement.
He also hopes the Board of Education will continue to negotiate with the district's three employee unites whose contracts are up this June, fighting for hard pay freezes.
Guber could not be reached for comment on her re-election by the time of this article's publication.
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