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Cuts to 'High Tax Aid' Hit Local School Districts Hard

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget slashes funds allocated for high tax aid by $50 million across the state.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive budget includes cutting "high tax aid" by close to a third and if state lawmakers sign off on the proposal, both the Wantagh and Seaford school districts will feel the cuts.

Across the entire state budget unveiled by Cuomo in late January, the amount allocated for high tax aid, which is given to districts in mostly downstate areas that deal with higher costs than regions where expenses are not as high, is being cut $50 million. Wantagh would receive $261,827 in high tax aid, compared to $872, 758 last year. Seaford's high tax aid is also significantly down in the governor's 2013/14 fiscal plan from $710,955 received this year to $213,286. 

The cuts in high tax aid to Wantagh and Seaford is a big reason why both districts would not get much help in Cuomo's proposed budget. The state legislature has until April 1 to adopt a budget for the 2013/14 fiscal year. 

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The neighboring Levittown School District, which is attended by students in northern sections of Wantagh and Seaford, will have its high tax aid of $208,322 stay intact if Cuomo's budget gets adopted as is. 

Seaford Superintendent of Schools Brain Conboy said he hopes State Sen. Charles Fuschillo, R-Merrick, and Assemblyman David McDonough, R-North Merrick, will be able to lobby for a restoration of additional high tax aid before a final budget is adopted in Albany.

"If we need some additional assistance from our legislators that is what should be examined," said Conboy of the large drop in high tax Aid. "If you look across the Nassau County districts on the state aid runs it seems a pretty common thing that all of the districts had to deal with." 

ed February 06, 2013 at 10:53 AM
WANTAGH Number of district employees making > $100,000 a year: 19 Superintendent of Schools $246,919 Asst. Supt. for Instruction $173,861 Asst. Supt. for Business $173,165 Principal High School $131,585 Principal Elem. School $129,273 Principal Elem School $129,217 Director of Reading/Elem AP $121,644 Director of Guidance $119,472 Director of Computer Ed $119,472 Principal Elem. School $119,459 Dir.of PE/Athletics $119,291 HS Asst Principal $117,593 Chair of Cons. Sci., Art,Hlt $114,611 Principal Middle School $113,975 Chair Lang, Busi $109,237 Chair of English $108,611 Director of PPS $106,154 Asst Director of PPS $105,361 HS Asst Principal $101,840
Chris Wendt February 06, 2013 at 12:12 PM
@ Ed... If you look at the Wantagh School District, all persons who are members of the NYSTRS (Teachers Retirement System), total pay for 2012, you will find 302 people with total pay of $30,514,586, or, a mean (mathematical) average of $101,041.70 per person per year. This includes part-time or "fractional" teacher positions. 166 of those people (55%) make more than $99,000. Now consider declining enrollment resulting in faculty reductions, and cuts in key state aid components (like High Tax Aid) possibly causing additional staff reductions, and remember that those cuts normally are made from the bottom of the seniority list (and pay scale). Cutting positions from the bottom of the seniority list would ultimately increase the average pay, as well as the percentage of people earning more than $99,000. It is not my purpose to be critical of what our school district pays these people. Their pay is typical for Long Island educators, and in my opinion the vast majority of them are excellent at what they do. I have always felt that Wantagh's children, including my own from the mid-seventies to the early nineties, were in good and capable hands in our district's classrooms. But, my personal feelings aside, attacking the existing salaries of our educators is not going to bring any relief from the problem of high taxes, or provide a solution to the proposed cut in High Tax Aid.
Lorraine DeVita February 06, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Pay excellent teachers an Excellent salary- have the ability to quickly fire those who arent. Limit tenure to a renewable 5 yr term only Do away with "steps" all together- No one should be given a quaranteed raise Bonuses should be available based on SD ability to pay & ONLY for those who go above and beyond- but not to be counted for pensions Benefits contributions should be 50 -50 Pensions should be LUMP SUM @ retirement @ age 62- not perpetuating ALL teachers should be under ONE contract state wide w/ regional " locals" - taking it out of the hands of local individuals,negotiated on the STATE level offering teachers consistency, parity ,equality throughout the state. Restructure or abolish the Triboro amendment - allowing for fair negotiation for both parties. RAISE starting Salaries to 60k. INcrease Standards that mandates all new hires MUSt have Masters of education certification before hiring with longer in class student "internship" assignments. Establish a Professional Teaching Standard that designates "Teachers of excellence" as quailified mentors to student teachers @ at higher pay rate Give students of educaiton a STIPEND for the new 2-3 year extended internship equal to their college tuition paid for by the state not the local district. Designate Specific Regional SD's only as "schools of excellence" where Student can apply for their "intership" to qualify.
Lorraine DeVita February 06, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Treat Education as TRUE Classfied "Profession" with all the ,education standards and requirments much the same as lawyers and doctors. and if it makes them happy through a few letters after their name upon graudation for status and recognition of their accredidation much like a doctor or lawyer .. john q smith - PE(professional educator)
Chris Wendt March 21, 2013 at 04:19 PM
The budget deal announced late last night indicates that High Tax Aid will now be fully funded. That could mean add-backs of $600K and $500K, respectively, to Wantagh & Seaford State Aid. Could...possibly. We will have to see how the entire budget plays out for our schools, in the State Aid computer runs, probably early next week. $600K more aid for Wantagh could get the tax levy down below "3", potentially to 2.98%. But that would depend upon the actual numbers from the actual application of the actual new budget, when it is completed.

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