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Behind the Results: Farmingdale School Budget

Passed budget, return of two BOE members and low turnout mark day.

The Farmingdale School District's was passed by the community Tuesday night, with a final tally of 1,988-1,181 in favor.

The Turnout

As of noon, , which some poll workers credited to the rain.

In total, 3,169 residents voted Tuesday in the this year's school budget vote, which is 564 less than 2010's 3,733 voters. This year, there were 28,771 residents registered to vote in Farmingdale, which means just 11 percent of residents voted in Tuesday's election.

Spending, Tax Levy

The district is one of only ten on Long Island that has cut spending from last year. The 2011-12 budget is .72 percent (or 1.34 percent if you take out a federal grant, more on that reporting difference ) less than last year's.

Despite this budget-to-budget decrease, the rising costs of benefits and less state aid meant the district had to increase the tax levy collected from the community by 2.52 percent. This was lowered from the 2.92 percent increase outlined in the after the district received some additional state aid in April.

The impact on individual tax rates is based on property assessments and will not be available until August, said Assistant Superintendent for Business Paul Defendini.

School Board Election

Incumbent Board of Education members John Capobianco and Stephen Wilson ran unopposed and were both re-elected to the school board for another three-year term. Capobianco received 2,167 votes and Wilson received 1,966 votes.

said the district's goal of establishing Farmingdale as a high-achieving district is still challenged by the current recession's impact on the taxpaying community and the availability of continued state aid.

"Our focus needs to continue support of the teachers in the classroom and administration in their efforts towards our district goal," he said. "We also need to work with administration to ensure that the cost of achieving our goal is manageable by the community."

remains concerned about the

"Even if we applied every bit of the reported $5 million in unappropriated fund balance, that is a one shot fix," he said. "Next year to get under the cap, we will have to cut programs. Predictable recurring revenue along with a culture of business promotion and growth is needed."

Going Forward

From 2002-06 the district experienced three out of four first time budget defeats and the average tax levy increase was 7.96 percent. From 2006-10 the district experienced no budget defeats and an average tax levy increase of 2.3 percent.

Next year, the district will operate with which include , combined seventh- and eighth- grade sports teams and some eliminated after-school clubs. However, the budget maintained an average district-wide class size of 21.71 and kept career electives and other programs in tact.

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