The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

The student news site of Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School

The Schreiber Times

PWUFSD Budget Vote Results

The results for the 2024-2025 Port Washington School District budget vote and Board of Education elections are in.  On May 21, a new budget of $194,578,217 was approved by over 70 percent of votes (2,932 to 1,245).  Additionally, a new option entitled Proposition 2, which would release capital funds for electrical upgrades throughout the school district, also passed with over 79 percent of votes (3,183 to 826).

Longtime board members Adam Smith and Nanette Melkonian were reelected as trustees to the Board of Education, with Sandra Alvarez as a new addition.  Superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes and Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Manuel published a video the same day thanking voters for their support of the new budget and Proposition 2.

The $194 million budgeted is a 5.6 percent increase over the current year’s expenditure, due to a staggering year-over-year expense growth of 8 percent.  This was caused in part by an increase in student enrollment, transportation costs, faculty retirement system contributions, health and general insurance premiums, and previously deferred maintenance to facilities such as Schreiber’s roof and nearby retaining walls.

“I believe that there is a more fundamental problem at play, that being a lack of proper incentive for the Board of Ed. to allocate their resources efficiently,” said junior Madis Joks.

The funding gap will be partially filled by an additional 4.55 percent property tax levy.  Property taxes fund 83 percent of the school’s budget, with state aid making up the majority of the remainder.

“Though I appreciate the school’s push to fund our programs, that should not come at increased cost to the district’s taxpayers.  I don’t blame the school district, but the governor defunded countless North Shore schools because the state Senate Representative is a Republican.  Playing party politics with our schools is wrong,” said junior Nathan Jackman.

This increase exceeds the district allowable tax levy by $1.9 million, which caused the vote to require a 60 percent supermajority to succeed instead of a simple 50 percent majority.  Still, this requirement was satisfied, with over 70 percent of voters supporting the budget.  Had it failed, as well as failing a possible revote, approximately $7 million in additional cuts to programs and services would have been necessary.

However, the enacted budget still would not fully cover increasing expenses, causing “careful reductions” to staff and programs to be necessary, even though class sizes will be maintained in accordance with BOE policy.  This reflects the budget breakdown, as the vast majority of ongoing expenditures (73 percent) goes to the salaries and benefits of the district’s employees.

Also included in the 2024-2025 budget are $28,738,141 of capital expenditure, an increase from last year’s $25,818,857.  Transfer to Capital Fund includes a high school roof project, repairs and upgrades to bathrooms and flooring districtwide, repairs for the Montfort retaining wall and tennis courts, districtwide facility repairs, and other health and safety projects.  These will come alongside repairs and upgrades enabled by the passage of Proposition 2.
Proposition 2, which authorized the release of $4,055,000 from the pre-established capital reserve fund, is separate from the 2024-2025 budget capital expenditure and therefore will not impact the tax levy or operating fund.  Its creation was approved by voters in May of 2022, funded by excess money from prior budgets.  Weber, Schreiber, , and all five elementary schools will see necessary upgrades and improvements to electrical services, including replacement of transformer and switch gear that is over 65 years old.

“I am very glad the money can now go to making many of the situations in our schools better,” said junior Matthew Eustace.

Despite using up nearly all of the $4,072,566 reserve, the large majority of voters voted in favor Proposition 2.