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NHP-GCP Superintendent’s Report: On the 2 Percent Tax Cap

Superintendent Katulak addresses tax cap on schools and the budget process.

The following are the remarks of  Superintendent Robert Katulak made during the public meeting of the NHP-GCP Board of Education on Feb. 13, 2012:

Tonight we  your input regarding  as a community of parents and homeowners regarding the creation of the school district budget. The board of education, as you heard, has a large job ahead of them in the creation of this 2012-13 school budget.

There is a different piece of this year, and that’s the  that comes from the state. Through our conversations with the superintendents across Long Island, it appears that right now there is only one school district who is going to be moving towards the supermajority.

What does a supermajority mean? It means in the past, that when you put a school budget up, a school board of education and the community have the right to create a budget with a tax rate – a tax levy – that they felt that the community could support in order to keep programs and to keep staff on board. Now they have taken that power out of our hands. Before, to pass a budget, you needed 50 percent, plus one vote. Under the current organization, the supermajority is a 60 percent vote, so it’s no longer the same rules. So in other words, democracy does not count for this process anymore. They also had a double process: a village board or a town board, by a simple vote of their board of directors could decide to . However in education, that was not available. So our board of education can not take a vote amongst themselves and say ‘we want to keep all these programs in, so therefore we’re just going to take a simple vote and we could pass over that supermajority rule.

In the past we’ve done a presentation on what the 2 percent cap means to our district and we posted that on the website. I ask (Assistant Superintendent of Finance) Mr. (Michael) Frank if he could just take 2 minutes because we have a big agenda to just try to summarize for you again, what that means in terms of our revenue, what we’re getting and how we could project that budget.

[Frank stated that a formula exists to find out what the specific amount the district can increase its tax levy, but that depending on the formula and exclusions, it could possible be above or below 2 percent.]

Tonight we celebrated the accomplishments of many of our students in . In the coming months you will hear and see examples of additional students, their projects in the science labs ot the Odyssey or the math fairs.

Tonight on the agenda we also celebrate the careers of a number of teachers who are respectful of our budget process and as a result, put in their retirement at the beginning of January so that we would have those figures to help us and assist us with our budget process. We’re thankful for their professionalism and wonderful service given to our students and our community.

The administrators in the schools and the central office have been meeting regularly to establish another mandate from the state and that’s called the process of the creation of Student Learning Objective, which are based on achievement data and will be implemented in September of 2012. That process will be involving all our teachers shortly after the midwinter break.

Our district Dignity for Schools Act committee will be meeting (February 16) to continue plans for the implementation of that program, which is due in September as well.

Tonight, Mrs. LaRocca, newly installed as the director of curriculum and instruction and technology, who has assumed two major roles as a budget cost-savings, will be . She’ll be addressing the plans of curriculum, instruction and professional development.

George Baron March 01, 2012 at 05:19 AM
Non-pedagogical positions, such as secretaries, janitors, bus drivers, etc., must be sacrificed first. Excessing those non-essential expendable workers would not be as traumatic to the children as laying off Teachers. PTA labor committees could then assign unskilled parent volunteers to undertake those menial jobs. Residents will be expected to share in these sacrifices by paying increased property taxes which would be used to stave off cutting back on Teacher positions, and to provide a long overdue increase in their meager salaries and benefits. Together, we can and will get through this. It is, after all, about the children.

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