The Glen Cove Board of Education adopted a $72,052,501 budget Monday, ending a month process of 2011-12 .
The budget – which is the district’s annual spending – calls for an increase of 2.4 percent. The tax levy, which is the amount of money that needs to be raised locally, is estimated to increase 3.3 percent.
– whose salary budget code has been reduced by $20,000 – has been preparing the community for a grim budget year: “I can say to you in all sincerity, in my 32 years of experience in dealing with budgets, I have never experienced what we are about to experience,” he said.
The budget also eliminates 19 district positions and that were not already in place.
“We must have the courage to say no to some of the things we want so that we will have the capacity to say yes to the things we really need,” Laria said.
Board trustee Joel Sunshine was in favor of the budget.
“3.3 percent: I’m sure there are people in this community that wish we went a little higher and didn’t cut some things,” Sunshine said. “And I think there are people in this community that say we need to go even lower because the tax payer can’t afford it. I will say that the seven of us – while we don’t agree on a lot of things – did factor both of those very important issues into our decision making. We certainly fought hard.”
While six of the seven board members voted to approve the budget, trustee David Huggins said that he believes the district could still cut more to reduce spending.
“I can not support this budget as it's being presented,”Huggins said. “There’s still some more cuts that need to be made. I’ve actually given into a lot of the capital improvement things that I think are major priorities in all of these buildings, but we need to eliminate more stuff. We have a responsibility not to just this school district that but the entire tax paying population. This budget is not low enough for me. I cannot in good conscious vote for it.”
Like Huggins, resident Rick Smith said that the budget is still not low enough.
“I admire and appreciate the board’s effort,” Smith said, “but I believe they could have done a lot more; as did Dave Huggins, who alluded to the fact that the board changed their minds once they were before the public.”
Glen Cove Chamber of Commerce vice president Glenn Howard urged the board to take local businesses into consideration.
“Every business that owns property can’t vote. Only a resident can vote. And these people support the school district with these taxes and you hit them with these taxes,” said Howard. “You have to take a very careful look how you affect the business sector with the taxes.”
Editor's Note: No sports were cut in this budget. And no class elementary class sizes were eliminated. These cuts were listed as possible budget reductions in the budget plan.