Voters in the West Islip Union Free School District will head to the polls later this month to vote on the $127.5 million proposed budget and an additional proposition.
This year’s budget does not pierce the allowable tax levy cap. It reflects a tax levy of 1.60 percent, which is at the cap. That equates to roughly $139.57 more annually for the average resident with a West Islip home assessed at $45,000.
According to an April 13 budget presentation by assistant superintendent for business Elisa Pellati, West Islip will receive an increase in New York State aid of 8.91 percent over what was budgeted in the prior year. This is tied to the over $3.6 billion increase in state aid for public schools this year.
The New York State 2021-2022 budget includes approximately $12 million in allocated federal stimulus funding to districts. This includes the Coronavirus Response and Relief Appropriations (CRRSA) Act and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. West Islip has been allocated $3.6 million in CRRSA aid and $1.4 million in ARP aid.
West Islip will receive the majority of its revenue from property taxes — approximately 69.5 percent. The remainder will come from state aid (26.7 percent), fund balance (1.1 percent), and other (2.6 percent).
In a budget statement from the district, expenditures were split into three main categories: administrative, program and capital.
The administrative component, which accounts for 10.8 percent of the total budget, provides for overall general support and management activities, including business office operations, central office administration, personnel, and legal and auditing services. This component also includes costs for administration and supervision of each of the district’s schools.
The program component, which accounts for 74.4 percent of the budget, provides funding for the instruction and educational support services for the approximately 3,800 students in the district. It also includes transportation costs for students.
Lastly, the capital component – approximately 14.7 percent of the budget – is used for building maintenance and property upkeep.
The second proposition on the ballot this year will dip into the district’s capital reserve, established by a community vote in May 2019.
The reserve fund, which allows the district to save money for future capital projects that would otherwise be funded through the annual budget or a bond, costs nothing to taxpayers. As of June 2020, the district’s reserve fund had a balance of $4 million.
If the reserve fund usage is approved by voters, the district is permitted to use no more than $1,680,000 for capital projects. This includes: automated water bottle filling stations districtwide; air conditioning at Manetuck and Oquenock Elementary Schools; fencing at the high school; repaving at Bayview; and replacement of auditorium stage curtains and walk-in freezer and fridge at the high school.
West Islip officials split up budget information through a series of workshops from February to April, which are currently available on the district’s website.
The board of education adopted the proposed budget at the April 20 public meeting. The district will host a budget hearing on May 6 at Beach Street Middle School auditorium at 7 p.m., prior to the May 18 voting day.