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Mineola Holds Final Hearing for 2012-13 School Budget

District ranked 98 out of 115 for tax levy increase.

While many other Mineola residents were having their own Night on the Town, Mineola School Superintendent Dr. Michael Nagler and the rest of the made a final review of the 2012-13 budget before the May 15 vote during a hearing on May 3 at the .

The total , a decrease of $229,458 or a 0.27 percent drop in spending from 2011-12.

“The decrease is due in large part because we transferred money to do the Hampton project last year that we’ve taken out of the budget this year,” Dr. Nagler said.

The proposed tax levy is 1.93 percent, in line with the , or $76,242,180, an increase over 2011-12 of $1,443,803. The 2011-12 tax levy was $74,798,377.

“There’s an in order to determine what your cap can be,” Dr. Nagler explained. “It can be over 2 percent and in many districts surrounding us, their allowable cap is over 2 percent.”

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for Mineola , largely due to the district accepting the educational jobs fund money and coming out in 2012-13, “but our dollar-for-dollar is roughly $3,000 less with the new runs,” the superintendent noted.

The district’s operational budget increased by $1.7 million from $78,075,641 to $79,852,938, or about 2.28 percent. The revenue side of the budget does not account for anything dealing with Willis Avenue as the district has not signed a lease. If it does sign a lease, the money gained would be on top of the $1.28 million the district expects to take in from other streams.

There are no cuts in programs or activities and allow for and regularly scheduled replacement. One of the primary initiatives is the , construction of a new science lab in and the and introduction of a hands-on science program in pre-K through grade two.

The board has transferred to cover the and the .

“The bus loop still has to be decided on by the board, we’re currently forming a committee to review that plan,” Dr. Nagler said. “If the board decides not to do that work it’ll go back into the (reserve) the following year.”

Mineola will also be replacing 2 large buses (using 5-year leases on the vehicles) and three vans as well as a new mail truck in the guise of a pickup truck with a cap. The district did not replace any vehicles last year.

Reductions of two full-time administrators and three full-time custodians/ maintainers also are included. If not for the science programs, six full-time teaching positions would have been eliminated.

Also maintains the district’s 4 percent fund balance. According to the superintendent, recent numbers across the Island indicate that fund balances in school districts went form an average 3.95 percent to below 3.5 percent.

“What does that tell you? It tells you a lot of districts are taking fund balance to pay down their tax levy,” he said. “Island-wide half a percent is significant. In my opinion you cannot sustain that.”

The total 2012-13 equipment budget is $217,000 and includes new furniture for music and art rooms at Hampton. “When we went out to we did not include furniture,” the superintendent said. “The bids , we were able to buy all the library furniture, it was the most expensive, the stacks and the seating. This is finishing up the furniture for that project.”

The equipment amount also covers phase two of the high school art room. Phase one involves taking down walls and reflooring and will be done once school lets out. The entire project will be finished for a September 1 opening. There is also a new state mandate for calculators for grades six through eight.

The academically gifted program (AGP) is in the budget and the district will look to change entrance requirements in third grade as well as the technology requirement for seventh grade. The current technology requirement is woodshop, but the district is looking to test class based on robotics and expand it to the whole school the next year.

Trustee William Hornberger stated that out of 115 school districts on Long Island, with 1 being the highest, Mineola ranked 109 in terms of budgetary increase and 98 in terms of tax levy increase.

“Obviously we know as to why as explained because of the transfer aspects but we are again favorable in that number year over year,” he said. “I appreciate all the work that’s been done over the last couple years to get us to this point. It wasn’t by accident that we are at the lower end of those both budgetary and tax levy perspectives throughout all of Long Island while other districts are still grappling with how to modify their budgets to provide programs.”

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