With the public vote coming up fast, the Massapequa Board of Education held their final state-mandated budget hearing at their May 5 meeting, giving local residents one last overview of the school district’s 2016-17 spending plan before the polls open later this month and its fate is decided.
The adopted Massapequa school district budget for the 2016-17 school year is $189,746,159 with a -1.19 percent tax levy. During a brief presentation, Deputy Superintendent Alan C. Adcock highlighted the effectiveness of the spending plan—unanimously adopted by the board of education at their April 7 meeting—noting that it not only preserves the core curriculum of the Massapequa school district, but builds upon it as well in several key areas.
“The budget contains all of the programs and services that the school has been providing for students, and there are enhancements in the budget on the elementary and secondary level as well,” he said. “The budget, for the second year in a row, represents a zero percent increase from the previous year. We also learned several days before we adopted the budget that New York state had given Massapequa additional state aid, so the district proposed a tax decrease of $1,836,635, or 1.2 percent.”
In addition, Adcock went over another item slated to be on the May 17 ballot; the community will be asked to vote on a proposition with regards to renovating and rebuilding the Berner Middle School athletic fields.
“These athletic fields are in a very bad state…they have been in disrepair for many, many years,” he said. “What we are asking the public to vote on is to renovate these fields with a synthetic turf field that is striped for five sports, and we’re also proposing the field to be lit so they can play night games. For the first time in history, Massapequa will be able to host a county-wide track meet at Berner, which is very exciting for both staff and students.”
Adcock stated that the timing of the proposed renovations is ideal, as it allows the school district to take advantage of a current state program that allows them to save a great deal of money on the work to be performed in getting the fields up to snuff.
“The cost of this field is just under $3.3 million and the money exists right now in the district’s capital reserve fund, so there’s no increase in taxes. Plus, at the moment, because we have other renovation projects going on at Berner, we are eligible for a program called State Building Aid, so the district will get back over half the cost of the field renovations from the state,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for the district to get this work done that is greatly needed and getting more than half of it paid for by New York state. This will be on the ballot, asking the community if they will support this along with the budget vote and we wanted people to know about this.”
Adcock said that the money provided by the state for building aid is not returned immediately in one lump sum. Instead, he noted, it would be repaid to the school district in 1/15th increments over the next 15 years, amounting to approximately $108,000 a year once the Berner field renovation project is completed.
The Massapequa school district 2016-17 budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 17. Residents can consult the district’s website at www.msd.k12.ny.us for information on polling places.