East Islip’s budget to maintain programs

School tax has remained stagnant since 2014 for homeowners, District says


Registered voters in the East Islip Union Free School District will head to the Early Childhood Center in Islip Terrace to cast their vote on the $121 million budget this year.

The majority of the district’s revenue will come from the tax levy, providing $72.9 million for the district, based on the 2021-2022 adopted budget.

The budget is at the allowable tax levy cap, with a tax levy increase of 1.50 percent, the same as the cap. This equates to a tax rate of roughly $20 per $100 assessed value. District documents stated that average homeowners in district boundaries will pay school tax which is “approximately the same as 2014.”

Additional revenue will come from New York State Aid, providing approximately $39.4 million to the district, as well as from other revenues, appropriate fund balances and retirement contribution reserves.

“In the face of a pandemic, proposing a tax levy with a 1.5 percent increase and using reserves to protect against future cuts in state education aid is the right thing to do for the community,” school superintendent John Dolan wrote in a budget newsletter.

The adopted budget is expected to maintain all current services in the district and add additional programs. The largest spending category is instruction at $63.4 million, which will go toward administration and building improvements, teaching expenses in school, special education and occupational education programs in Eastern Suffolk BOCES, computer and media services and pupil personnel.

The district aims to budget $58,167 to a three-year agreement for a one-gig Ethernet line with internet access. Funds will also be used to upgrade technology including computers, whiteboards, headphones, cameras and speakers, and installation of WiFi capability at exterior locations on East Islip’s campus.

Approximately $13.1 million of the budget will be used for general support, which includes expenses for the board of education, central administration salaries, financial department, staff, cost for insurance, dues, and BOCES.

The district will utilize $9.4 million on operations and district maintenance. This not only includes salaries related to the maintenance of district buildings, but multiple equipment and furniture which will be budgeted for the Building and Grounds Department. Equipment like a lawnmower and grounds vehicle, a wrestling mat, snow blowers, video projection equipment, magnetic classroom door holders, new ventilator controls, and more will be used for this category.

The district will enter the third year of a five-year contract for student transportation with an estimated annual cost of $4.9 million. Additional transportation costs for athletes, field trips and other extracurricular activities will cost about $190,000.

“Over the past five years, we taxed for need, not to the cap, and we replenished our reserves so we could weather a storm such as this pandemic,” Dolan wrote. “Because we had a long-range plan, we were prepared for a rainy day… we will continue this fiscally responsible path as we build our next equally enriching long-range plan.”

The board of education will host a public budget hearing on Tuesday, May 4, at 8 p.m. to provide the public with additional information on the adopted budget. The budget vote is scheduled for May 18 from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

A previous version of this story stated that the tax levy would provide $71.9 million for the district. We regret this error. 


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