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2024-2025 Budget FAQ

What is the budget-to-budget increase and what is the proposed tax levy increase?
The budget-to-budget increase is 2.67%, which represents a budget of $187,932,561. The proposed tax levy increase is 2.33%, which is below the tax levy limit for the 13th consecutive year. 

How does the Northport-East Northport School District budget compare to neighboring districts? 
The Northport-East Northport School District currently has the lowest tax rate in the Town of Huntington. Additionally, the district’s average tax levy increase since 2012-13 (1.31%) is the 24th lowest out of 124 Long Island districts. This is due to consistent efforts to reduce the tax levy through carefully managing budgets for long term fiscal stability. 

Are there any other propositions on the ballot?
Yes. The community will be asked to vote on a second proposition,which would authorize the district to expend $1,000,000 for the purpose of performing necessary capital projects including roof replacements and HVAC renovations. The total cost of the projects will be funded from the Capital Reserve Fund established in 2021. It is important to note that since these monies have already been placed in capital reserves, there is no additional tax impact for residents if the proposition is approved. Voter approval is required, however, for the district to expend these monies and use them to complete the projects listed.

What factors caused the budget to increase? 
The main causes of the 2024-25 budget increase are a 15%+ increase in healthcare premiums, a 13-17% increase in premiums for property and liability insurance, a new transportation contract with an increase of over 10%, contractual salary increases for all staff and contractual increases for external vendors. This is in addition to inflationary pressures and rising costs for food, supplies, capital equipment and more. 

The district has taken many steps to help keep the budget-to-budget increases as low as possible despite these factors.

What savings did the district achieve through this budget cycle?
The district has been experiencing declining enrollment for over a decade. With significantly less students in school, the district has taken several steps to help keep budget-to-budget increases as low as possible while accounting for contractual increases and inflationary pressure. This has included significantly reducing staff while avoiding excessing. Specifically, more than 50 staff positions have been reduced since 2018, with an additional reduction of 20 staff being recommended for 2024-25, without excessing. The district reorganization made significant staffing reductions possible while simultaneously saving the district millions of dollars in capital work avoidance.

Additionally, the district is streamlining programming to ensure funds are being distributed appropriately based on student wants and needs. Priority is being given to maintain our wide array of academic and extracurricular opportunities for students. 
The district also utilizes in-district staff for renovations and building upgrades whenever possible, helping reduce the need to pay outside vendors for this work. Several additional items were removed from the 2024-25 budget to bring down the deficit and lower the budget-to-budget increase, including removal of a backhoe, reductions in printing costs and more. 

Maintaining a tax levy below the tax levy limit would not be possible if the district were not consciously reducing costs and being mindful of spending across all budget areas. 

Will the closed buildings be used to generate revenue?
The district has been soliciting offers for lease on both Bellerose Avenue and Dickinson Avenue. While the Brosnan building is also available for lease, it is currently fully occupied and therefore highly unlikely to be leased beyond the existing tenant (Island Kids pre-school). Currently, there are no viable lease offers presented; however, the district will continue to market the properties and look for opportunities to generate revenue from each. Any revenue generated would be considered income during the year in which it is received and can be used to offset future increases in later school year budgets.

How much money do we have in reserves? Why do we need reserves?
The district has approximately $28.5 million in reserves; however, it is important to note that the large majority of those reserves are for mandated expenses, such as unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation and more. 

The amount of money in unassigned reserves, which functions as a sort of savings account for a school district, is approximately $7.5 million. This amount is directly in line with the comptrollers recommended 4% of the total budget allocated for unrestricted reserve funds. It is important that the district maintains a healthy and appropriate reserve fund for a variety of reasons, including to fund emergencies or large one-time expenses.

If the amount of unrestricted reserves dips significantly below the recommended 4%, the district will be put in a position of “fiscal stress,” which makes it difficult to borrow funds in the future if necessary. It also would leave the district in a difficult position if significant unanticipated expenses arise. 

As we progress through the 7-year LIPA glidepath, it is important that the district has funds available to offset future increases and help manage the loss of income from LIPA.

Will class sizes be increasing?
The proposed budget maintains the district’s low class sizes in accordance with the class size targets. Enrollment will decline by approximately 98 students for the 2024-25 school year. The district is continually evaluating staffing needs to ensure class sizes remain small and students and staff feel comfortable in their buildings. 

How many Board trustee positions are up for election? Who is running for the Board?
There are two trustee positions available for the 2024-25 school year. More information about the candidates can be found here