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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."

Michael January 14, 2012 at 02:22 PM
When I first saw this article I thought...whoa.... there's gonna be a lot of comments for this one... I guess I logged on a bit early. Always a touchy issue... The school budget.... You want what is best for the kids, you want your property values to stay high, and keep Farmingdale Schools competitive with the surrounding areas.... We want hard working middle class families to choose to relocate their families to Fdale over Plainview, Massapequa, etc.... Everyone who lives in Farmingdale knows how great this town is.... I hope the comments that come after mine are not negative and are thoughtful. The article states that there will be a community outreach to inform us about this budget and the tax cap.... We can then make an informed decision then.
James M. January 16, 2012 at 03:24 PM
I hope the Superintendent and Teachers Union can work together to create a budget that reduces staff costs as a percentage of the budget and increase the money actually spent on the kids and stay within the 2% cap which was the spirit of the new law instead of finding ways to subvert the new tax cap laws.
James M. January 16, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Although, I'm expecting a 5% increase in staff costs and a reduction in other student related expenses such as art, music and gym because god forbid we cut staff costs.
Dan Michaels January 16, 2012 at 07:42 PM
I hope the people of Farmingdale don't allow the School Board to go beyond the 2% cap. If you start to hear talk of by passing the cap speak out...ask questions and above all things...VOTE. A no vote is more important than a blind Yes vote if the numbers are wrong, the economy is weak and the increased costs associated with the budget aren't justified and crystal clear to the general public. The shool Administration likes to keep certain numbers vague and absent the important details. Speak out...question their numbers and make them prove to you that each and every penny increase is truly justified. Finally, don't ever let them threaten to cut sports programs or other activites. School is for the children, the money is for the education of our children. NOT the Administrations seminars, conferences, or association membership dues.
James M. January 16, 2012 at 07:56 PM
Now Dan you and I don't agree on much when it comes to a lot of things but in this I agree 100%. I would just once like to see a detailed budget not those completely useless categories they love to mix expenses in.
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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