Lindenhurst Schools to Receive Additional $800K in State Aid

District says the money will help keep the tax levy lower while preserving reserves.

will be receiving an in , thanks to the newly approved New York state 2012-13 budget that includes a total of approximately $20.4 billion for school aid.

This is in line with local legislators' assurances about earlier this year at the held at the .

Legislators - including New York State Assemblyman and State Senator - were hopeful back in they could get some $250 million that Governor Andrew Cuomo was setting aside for competitive grants put back into the formula in order to ease the districts like are facing this year.

"I guess we're relatively pleased that the state is restoring a small portion of what was taken away in the last two years," Lindenhurst Board of Education President Ed Murphy, Jr. told Lindenhurst Patch after the BOE .

Back in the district was projected to receive this year, but according to Murphy and Superintendent Richard Nathan at recent BOE meetings, that aid gain was going to be offset by the loss of federal jobs aid at $1.5 million.

They've also noted during the past two school years the district has lost $6.6 million in state aid - despite a little more than $1 million in state aid being for the current school year.

The $20.4 billion that's being restored as part of the NYS 2012-13 budget does include performance grants to reward academic improvement and school district efficiencies, according to a press release about the budget agreement from the governor's office.

"This represents an increase of $805 million in total education spending, with most of the allocated increase targeted to high-needs school districts," said the release.

"The budget includes a total of $125 million to be allocated for performance grants, including $50 million in continuing payments to the school districts which'll receive awards in the first round of grants, and an additional $75 million in awards to a second-round of school districts," the release continued.

Local Impact
At the Lindenhurst level the roughly extra $800,000 will bring the district's state aid total to $2.4 million for the 2012-13 school year.

That extra money will help as the district prepares additional cuts the has asked to see before it's scheduled on April 18 at 8 p.m. at the .

The budget adoption was originally scheduled for the April 4 BOE meeting, but it was postponed at the until while it awaited to see more cuts from the administration and the final state aid numbers.

(To read more about the postponement, plus the current tax levy and cap, the second look at expeditures and the impact of contract negotiations, click .)

"We've asked the administration to see further cuts and for additoional information - like some breakdowns of finances and the impact they'd have on next year's budget," Murphy said. "We'll be evaluating all of that on April 18."

Superintendent Richard Nathan also told Patch after the April 4 meeting that the additional state aid won't change what the BOE already elected to cut on March 27.

"I don't believe we'll be restoring any that we've already cut. I think all of the cuts that have been made are all vaild ones. But I think it'll help keep the tax levy lower while preserving reserves," he said.

(To read more about the cuts, click . For more information about the now adopted budget, click and , and take this poll about it .)

Contract Talks
In addition, unlike last year when the BOE had higher hopes that contract negoitations with five of its six bargaining units - in particular TAL (teachers' union) - would've yielded some tax-levy relief and helped avoid some program and staff cuts, the BOE isn't as hopeful that something like that will happen before the April 18 budget adoption.

"We've been in communication with our bargaining units," Murphy said. "But we're not anticipating any relief by the adoption unfortunately."


Editor's Note: Don't forget to share your thoughts and concerns about this year's budget process for the with Lindenhurst Patch on the site in the comments section of articles about the topic like this one, on Facebook and Twitter, and by e-mailing barbara.loehr@patch.com with an opinion piece.


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