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Long IslandEducation

Uniondale, N. Bellmore look to next steps after budgets fail

The Nassau County districts were the only two of 124 Long Island school systems to not win voter approval on Tuesday.

"We are of course disappointed that our budget was not approved by our community," Uniondale Superintendent William K. Lloyd, left, seen in 2017, wrote in a letter to residents on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Uniondale and North Bellmore school district officials are exploring their next steps after their 2018-19 budgets failed to win voter approval Tuesday.

The districts were the only two out of 124 school systems across Long Island to not win voter approval.

Their options include holding a revote on June 19 that offers either the same or a tweaked spending plan. If the budget is defeated at that time, the district would have to enact a contingency budget with no tax increase. The districts also could choose to not hold a second vote and adopt the contingency budget.

“We are of course disappointed that our budget was not approved by our community,” Uniondale Superintendent William K. Lloyd wrote in a letter to residents. “We felt that our proposed tax levy increase of less than 1% — significantly below the District’s tax cap — and maintaining all of our excellent academic programs and services, would have been a strong incentive for a positive vote.”

Uniondale’s spending plan of more than $197 million would have been a 5.41 percent increase over its current budget, and a 0.99 percent tax levy increase, falling below its state-imposed cap.

The district failed to get the simple majority required for passage, with 847 votes in favor, and 1,009 against.

Lloyd in the statement said the district would review its options. The district Wednesday declined to comment further.

North Bellmore’s budget vote was more complex.

The district’s $57.2 million spending plan won support in a 1,322-1,231 vote, but it fell short of the 60 percent it needed to exceed the district’s state-imposed cap.

The district’s proposal pierced the tax cap because of the costs of transportation-related propositions on the ballot. Its budget fell within the limit.

Residents Tuesday told Newsday the proposition had a lot of parts and it was difficult to read.

The proposition included four options: expand busing for public school students; expand busing for students attending out-of-district private schools; reduce busing; or leave busing at current levels.

Mark Schissler, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, on Tuesday said the district would likely hold a revote in June, and the school board would have to meet to work out the details.

North Bellmore Superintendent Marie Testa did not return a call for comment Wednesday, but in a letter to the community said the school board would “address our next steps and be in communication with our constituents.”

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