The Levittown school board approved a budget proposal Tuesday that calls for a 1.85 percent increase on the tax levy for the 2012-13 school year.
Originally, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance Mark Flower suggested that the board ask for a 2.51 percent raise on the tax levy, which is the maximum amount the district can ask for due to new legislation.
That changed after New York State passed a new budget on Friday, which returned $200 million in funds to schools across New York State.
The Levittown School District saw their aid increase from $46,847,167 to $47,901,938.
"As a result of that, we did not need to raise the levy as much because it's now offset by the state aid increase," Flower said.
At the beginning of the budget hearing, Dr. Grossane told the public that the district was targeting a 2 percent tax levy increase, something he hinted at in an interview with Patch in February.
"Our intent all along was to propose a 2 percent tax levy," he told the public Tuesday.
Grossane suggested that the increase in state aid could allow the board to come up with a tax levy increase of less than 2 percent.
When asked by trustee James Moran, Flower said that he would feel comfortable with a tax levy increase as low as 1.8 or 1.9 percent.
Board president Mike Pappas suggested that the board split the difference at 1.85 percent. When the 1.85 percent budget came to a vote, it was approved unanimously.
The vote was initially delayed at the request of the board in order to find more room for fund balance in the budget. Flower said that the new budget accommodated for that while keeping all of the instructional programs intact.
"By going with 1.85 [percent], we were able to maintain the program without a significant increase on taxes for the residents," he said.
The budget calls for a 4 percent decrease in district spending from the 2011-12 budget, from $197,907,475 to $189,996,581.
The "rollover budget" allows the district to keep every program from 2011-12 intact for 2012-13.
At the next meeting on April 17, Flower will review the public and reveal the specific number for expenses within the district.
Before the vote was completed, Moran and Pappas commended the work done in preparing the budget.
"I've been on this board for 12 years, and I'd like to commend central office and the Board of [Education] for putting together such a great budget this year. This is one of the best budgets I've ever been involved with," Moran said.
"I want to thank the Board of Education, central office and especially our new superintendent for coming up with a budget that reduces expenditures, provides a really low tax increase but at the same time, not only maintaining programs but improving many aspects of our student's education. That's a real damn tough thing to do in this day and age," Pappas said.