The South Huntington Board of Education will adopt its next budget Wednesday night though several issues remain to be decided.
The plan calls for a budget of $146,988,394 but several variables could come into play. The biggest is that the budget has a $1.3 million positive gap.
While a basic budget is ready, said superintendent David Bennardo and interim business administrator Lawrence Light, numerous details remain to be decided.
At the meeting, there should be “some robust discussion over the fund balance, some robust discussion over class size. There are those two things and also the tax rate. Those will be the things discussed and debated,” Bennardo said. “It’s a very fluid moment. Do we want to take all the positional cuts, take parts of savings, do we want to contemplate reducing the tax rate? They’re all in play.”
The budget under consideration Wednesday includes the use of $4.2 million from the fund balance, and tax rate increase is 4.16 percent.
“As the result of the state aid restored and other reductions, we’re in a good place but still the board wants to look at other things to reduce the fund balance use.
We’re in the positive zone now,” Light said, referring to savings found throughout the budget in recent months, and the restoration of more than $900,000 in state aid that was chopped under Gov. Cuomo’s original state budget proposal.
Bennardo and Light noted that programs are maintained this year, avoiding some of the cutbacks of past years when the district, like others on Long Island, scrambled to meet the new state tax cap.
He said questions for the future.
“You’re trying to balance as much as you can for programs this year and the giant unknown of next year are health care and pension costs. You’re making decisions in a bit of a vacuum. If pensions level out, then you have a very different decision,” Bennardo said.
The board meets at 7:30 p.m. at Whitman High School.