Both school districts in the Levittown area will adopt a budget this week, to be voted on in May.
The districts are adopting budgets in the face of a state tax cap on municipalities and will consider alterations as a result.
Island Trees will adopt its budget on Tuesday. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Charles Murphy estimated that the district will ask for a tax levy increase of 1.99 percent, under their 2 percent tax levy. He estimated that the budget will increase by a little over 1 percent.
Murphy added that there will be few reductions to district programs and services. "This school year and next school year will mirror each other with a couple of tweaks," he said.
He said that the district will collapse several administrative positions in an effort to get under the tax cap.
One of the problems Island Trees and other districts are facing is the loss of grants from the federal government, which add up to about $472,000 in missing aid. "If it was flat, we would be in great position," he said. "The fact that we lost that is a killer."
Still, the prospects for next year looked better than they did last summer. "We were thinking the contributions to the retirement system [and] the contributions to the healthcare system for employees [was] going to be much higher. They came in a little higher, but not as high as once projected," he said. "The board did a terrific job moving in the right direction with this budget so that you aren't going to impact programs and services for kids."
Levittown will adopt its budget on Wednesday. The district shaved 4 percent off its 2011-12 budget in an effort to minimize the effects of the tax cap. At last Wednesday's budget session, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Mark Flower suggested that the board ask for its maximum tax levy of 2.51 percent.
To find out what the new tax cap legislation means for you, the taxpayer, you can read our article from February. (One note - the headline is misleading. While the legislation is popularly known as the "2 Percent Tax (Levy) Cap," certain exemptions can allow districts to go over that 2 percent if they choose.)
The budgets, and trustee candidates, will be voted on in May.