Port Washington voters pass budget for next school year

Ana Espinoza, Staff Writer

After a season of budgetary debates and decisions, local voters passed the budget for the 2012-2013 school year. The proposed budget, which consists of nearly $133.5 million, passed with 2,547 votes in favor of approval and 845 against approval on May 15. As a result, the school district tax levy will increase by 2.07 percent, which is within the recently instated New York State limit of 2.13 percent.

Residents placed their ballots for the budget vote between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. at Daly Elementary School, Sousa Elementary School, Salem Elementary School, and Weber Middle School. A $6.975 million bond to repair and replace roofs at Guggenheim, Sousa, Weber, and Schreiber and a vote to elect three uncontested school board members were also on the ballot.

Any citizens who were 18 years old or older and residents of the Port Washington School District for at least 30 days prior to the vote were eligible to register.

“The budget this year is a thoughtful proposal that’s within the guidelines set by the state, so it does not exceed the tax cap,” said Principal Mr. Ira Pernick. “I think it’s what the community is looking for.”

Even though the budget passed with a monetary increase, increases in energy costs and teacher raises mandate that the district make cuts to keep the budget balanced. Next year, there will be fewer classes for some electives due to retiring teachers who will not be replaced, as well as a reduction in the number of clubs offered.

“The budget not passing would have had far-reaching implications, and it would have presented a lot of problems,” said Mr. Pernick.

The Board of Education started developing a budget proposal that would appeal to residents since the beginning of the school year.

“I think the Board, the administrators, and the superintendent have worked very hard to be respectful of the economic times and still maintain programs for students,” said Assistant Principal Ms. Julie Torres.