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School Board: Create Budget Within Tax Cap

Farmingdale school board directs administrators to develop budget within two percent tax cap.

The Board of Education has asked administrators to prepare a budget that falls within the , a different directive , Superintendent John Lorentz said at the January school board meeting.

"The board has challenged and authorized the administration to create a budget that lives within the cap and would maintain all of our programs and that we use whatever resources the district has to make that happen," Lorentz said.

He explained that earlier this year the board had asked the administration to prepare two budgets for the community - one that pierces that the tax cap and maintains all programs and would require 60 percent of the voters to approve it and one that would live within the cap but may have some impact on programs.

This district had tentatively planned a community meeting on Feb. 15 to discuss the differences between the two, but has since scrapped that plan. However, Lorentz said that community outreach will still happen to educate residents about the implications of the tax cap, especially with the PTAs.

"Our direction has somewhat changed but it still needs to have a lot of community support in order for this to happen," Lorentz said. "We still need the community to understand the implications because there are long term implications of what we might do."

The two percent tax cap that passed earlier this year applies to the district tax levy, the total amount of taxes collected from the community that go towards the budget. According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Paul Defendini, the district levied near $112 million last year, so this year the levy would be around $115 million.

Individual tax bills are determined by the Nassau County Board of Assessment and are not what the cap applies to, according to Defendini.

Last year, the district passed a $146,957,711 budget, which called for a  increase, but represented a from the previous year. 

"We really have to understand the tax cap," Lorentz said. "We need the community to be part of the conversation."

Dan Michaels January 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Mr. Marshall I think you'd find we agree on more things than you'd think when it comes to the Schools. The term used in last years budget presentation by the School Administration was "in an effort of full disclosure". Verbage pure and simple but full disclosure - not even close. Try and do the math with the numbers the School Administration and Board provide the public. They just don't add up. No wonder our children aren't top academics in math. I have a gut feeling that Mr. Lorentz's asking for all of us to "understand the tax cap" and for "the community to be part of the conversation" is the initial greasing of the rails by the School Administraton/Board to justify the need to exceed the 2% cap. I assure each and every parent out there. The School Administration will do all it can to have you believe you don't "understand". It's simple really. No magic needed. You the voters of Farmingdale have the final say. NOT the School Administration, nor the School Board whose job it is to convince you that the mysterious categories and numbers presented in the budget are the absolute final and best right ones. Last year's School Budget percentage increase was MADE UP by the School Board. YES, they just picked numbers that they "felt would be passed by the Farmingdale voters." How's that for some real financial justification. Speak out. Speak up. Ask questions and then ask for their answer to be proven to you in real clear numbers. VOTE and let your voice be heard.
James M. January 17, 2012 at 05:55 PM
"I have a gut feeling that Mr. Lorentz's asking for all of us to "understand the tax cap" and for "the community to be part of the conversation" is the initial greasing of the rails by the School Administraton/Board to justify the need to exceed the 2% cap." I agree with that assessment. I got the same feeling reading the article. I would like to propose 3 year terms for all School Board Members and a two term limit with an exception since most voters have no idea who the candidates are except allow a member who gets 66% percent of the vote to remain past the two terms.
Tanii C. January 17, 2012 at 06:30 PM
I still want to know what the qualifications for running for the school board are and a copy of the school board/individual schools line by line general ledger.
James M. January 17, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Good luck. IF you get it can you post it online so the rest of us can see it. I just wouldn't hold my breath.
Michael January 19, 2012 at 03:49 AM
The teachers union doesn't have any say in the proposed budget... It's all the Farmingdale administration.... But I do agree we need to keep the $ down and spend more on the kids...

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