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School Board Leaning Toward Two Percent Levy

Majority of members agree number should be kept low - and that public has been mislead.

After much discussion, the Glen Cove school board indicated it will keep its tax levy increase in the low 2 percent range during its meeting Monday night, with board members voicing frustration with state lawmakers’ representation of the state’s tax levy cap.

Board president Richard Maccarone said he did not think this is the year for a higher levy, saying two-income families in Glen Cove are struggling.

Superintendent Joseph Laria said he had given the issue serious consideration, then made the recommendation that the board stick to the 2 percent figure.

Three trustees voted in favor of a motion to keep to that number, with two dissenting.

Trustee Joel Sunshine and board vice president David Huggins expressed pointed concern over the effect that cuts might have on a district which has already “cut into bone marrow,” as Laria put it.

Sunshine proposed a levy in the range of 2.9 percent, pointing out that the district was actually beholden to a levy of 2.38 percent despite the solid 2 percent figure he said was inaccurately described by Albany. He expressed strong concern as to how cuts, in the wake of a levy in the low 2 percent range, would affect the quality of education in the district.

“I’m just giving my opinion - in five years our district, academically, will be dead. Whatever we have, we will just have the state mandatory minimum school district – ‘No Frills’ cola,” Sunshine said.

Trustee Ida McQuair said she is confidant in the education her son is currently receiving in the district, and said cuts so far have not been too major. She said the district is up against a public misperception on the matter as well as the pressures of mandates and a looming deficit.

“Unfortunately, Albany has painted this two percent picture in everyone’s mind, and although I agree with what Trustee Sunshine and Huggins have said, I am highly recommending that this board stay at two percent. This year, we don’t have a choice. We really don’t, and we can’t take the risk of this budget not passing,” McQuair said.

Trustees Gail Nedbor-Gross and Barry Dratch agreed that the levy should be kept as close to 2 percent as possible.

The board asked for opinions from those in the audience, to which a number of residents spoke in favor of keeping the levy at 2 percent.

The board announced it will hold a special meeting on Monday, April 16, in advance of its next scheduled business meeting on April 18.

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