The Board of Education is still in talks with the teachers’ union, TAL, according to the Lindenhurst School District, as the board heads toward a final budget workshop and special meeting newly scheduled for April 13.
Their negotiations had been cited as a reason for the board’s March 31 postponement of the finalization and adoption of budget expenditures.
As of last week it had been unclear if the BOE and TAL – one of five employee units with which the board is negotiating – had reached an agreement when the new budget workshop was posted here on Lindenhurst Patch and on the district’s website.
Set for Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. at the auditorium, this final workshop will take place to discuss and adopt expenditures.
The adoption of expenditures is expected to be finished by the end of the upcoming meeting, said the . It noted, however, that setting a tax levy is separate and it’s not expected to be done at Wednesday’s meeting.
Budget adoption by school districts across New York state has to occur by the third week of April each year, and the Lindenhurst board’s postponement pushed back the budget adoption process.
As Superintendent Richard Nathan noted April 6: “ It must be set within the next two weeks.”
Compounding the urgency of having to meet the NYS legal requirement, Lindenhurst schools will be on spring recess from April 18-22.
According to the district, next year’s school budget is usually adopted by this time each year, allowing some time before the budget vote in May to bring the final budget to the community.
However, this year’s budget process has been fraught with drama, with many parents, students, teachers, community leaders and residents speaking up about the various program and personnel cuts the superintendent presented the BOE for review .
“Once we have a date for the expenditure adoption, we will have it posted on the website, and will be sending out a ConnectEd message,” BOE President Ed Murphy, Jr. said April 6.
was done in hopes the board could save some of the 10-plus programs and personnel at risk of being cut as a result of:
- $3.1 million lost in state aid.
- Only as part of .
It was also done in hopes that a new contract deal with TAL could possibly help preserve some programs and personnel, according to the BOE at the March 23, March 31 and April 6 meetings.
Murphy noted March 31 the BOE was still in talks with TAL, following the March 23 meeting where after Murphy appeared to TAL President Rose Russo to be negotiating in public.
Murphy said then, “A true zero [taken by the teachers] for next year would save phases two through five.”
He was referring to the Superintendent Richard Nathan presented March 23. It’s similar to last year’s plan when the district faced millions lost in state aid for the 2010-11 school year.
However, this year’s plan shows there are more than 10 programs at risk of being cut such as ALC, Orion, JROTC, dance and media; approximately 49 teachers among other school employees who may be excessed this year; and a full-day kindergarten program that may be cut to half-day.
One portion of phase one, as voted on last year by the BOE, is already in place: the closing of E.W. Bower elementary school this June.
On March 31 Murphy said, “We are hopeful negotiations will be producing something soon. We postponed in hopes we don’t have to cut phases two through five. And if we cut all of them, including full-day kindergarten, the tax levy will still be at four percent.”
That’s a number that makes the board and administration very nervous. And it’s one Murphy and the BOE is worried the community may vote down based on the comments made at the month-long series of in March.
The budget vote is set for May 17, and that night there will be a at the . After the polls close at 9 p.m., and the vote is tallied, the district said, results will be announced there.
Residents will be able to vote not only on the budget, but also for three board members, said the district. One seat is open, and has been vacated since September. One seat belongs to BOE Member Robert Spero. And the third seat belongs to Murphy.
The community will be able to meet the candidates who are running for the BOE seats and the accompanying three-year terms at a Meet the Candidate Night at Harding Avenue elementary school at 7:30 p.m. later this month.