Michael Dobie Michael Dobie is a member of the Newsday

Michael Dobie is a member of the Newsday editorial board.

Earlier this month, we criticized the Central Islip school board for underestimating revenue, overestimating spending, piling up surpluses that exceeded legal limits, and not returning the money in some way to taxpayers -- all of which were reported in an audit by the state comptroller's audit.

The board seems to be making progress.

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On Wednesday night, it adopted in a split 4-3 vote a budget for 2014-15 budget that continues to increase spending (by 2.4 percent) but one that does contain a very significant change: it uses $7.5 million of that surplus to give district taxpayers a break. That's the appropriate thing to do.

Instead of another tax hike -- increases from 2008 to 2013 totaled 9 percent even as the surpluses were piling up -- the average homeowner will see a tax reduction of $70.12. http://nwsdy.li/1f7VJW7

As Newsday's editorial board noted three weeks ago, "If a district socks away too much money, in one way or another it should give it back."

Residents will vote on the budget May 20.