Port Washington School Budget Vote, Hearing: Everything To Know

Daniel Hampton

PORT WASHINGTON, NY — Port Washington residents will vote by mail June 9 this year to approve the district's proposed 2020-2021 school budget, as well as elect the school board and library trustees.

All registered voters who live in the district's boundaries will receive an absentee ballot in the mail with a postage-paid return envelope, the district said. There will be no in-person voting. Ballots must be received by the district no later than 5 p.m. on June 9.

A virtual budget hearing is planned at 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 26. Residents can participate by going to www.portnet.org.

Typically, the Board of Education normally adopts the budget and it is presented to the community about a month before the annual vote. Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed the voting process this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The proposed budget was discussed at two in-person meetings, one in February and the second in
March. The hearing next week will be the third "virtual" meeting in which the board discusses the budget.

Cuomo has warned that the economic effect of the shutdown imposed to curb the outbreak could mean much less money available for state education aid. The state will be assessing and adjusting its budget several times in the course of 2020. Cuomo's last estimate was that state aid would be 20 percent lower than already promised.

Below are the 2020-21 draft budget options, according to the district's website. A spokeswoman for the district said it plans to release updated information on the plans this week.

Option 1

  • All contractual codes cut in half
  • All union worker salaries include "step"
  • All central administrator salaries frozen
  • Transportation additional renewal costs
  • Budget increase: $3.1 million
  • Budget increase percentage 1.93 percent
  • Levy increase: $3.82 million
  • Levy increase percentage 2.71 percent
  • Tax change on average home with assessment of $1,006: $350

Option 2

  • Includes option 1 and:
  • Eliminates items in transfer to capital (about $266,000)
  • Further reduction of instructional materials K-12 (about 70,000)
  • Budget increase: $2.78 million
  • Budget increase percentage 1.73 percent
  • Levy increase: $3.53 million
  • Levy increase percentage 2.50 percent
  • Tax change on average home with assessment of $1,006: $322

Option 3

  • Includes all items in Options 1 and 2
  • Buildings and grounds give backs - equipment, OT (about $95,000)
  • Excess of seven paraprofessional (about 280,000)
  • Reduction of three ESTEAM staff (234,000)
  • Excess of nine permanent subs (65,000)
  • Curricular special projects (30,000)
  • Budget increase: $2.1 million
  • Budget increase percentage 1.31 percent
  • Levy increase: $2.8 million
  • Levy increase percentage 1.99 percent
  • Tax change on average home with assessment of $1,006: $255

Things to know:

The levy is the amount of the budget paid for by taxpayers. It is not the total cost of the budget. The district applies all state aid — initially stated to be about $10.7 million — and other sources of revenue which this year amount to approximately $8 million. The balance becomes the tax levy.

The budget addresses the total dollars needed to provide the proposed program. Option 1 includes all items in the current program.

The Board asked for additional options, each with a reduction in overall budgeted amount. Each comes with a proposed reduction in staffing and a commensurate reduction in the tax levy.

The Board of Education will ultimately decide which option to propose to the community June 9.

Click here to see the full budget option presentation and here to see the budget summary.

This article originally appeared on the Port Washington Patch