Bridgehampton School is the only school building in the Bridgehampton...

Bridgehampton School is the only school building in the Bridgehampton School District. Credit: James Carbone

The Northport-East Northport and Wantagh school districts are submitting reduced budgets for June 15 revotes, while Bridgehampton and Three Village are sticking with original spending plans.

Newsday's tracking of budget proposals across Long Island also finds the June 15 ballot shaping up as a test of the state's tax-cap limits. Three of the four systems holding revotes — Bridgehampton, Three Village and Wantagh — continue seeking cap overrides.

Each of the four districts failed to gather enough votes in the regular May 18 school elections.

This year, record increases in state financial aid have proved a key in determining tax levies, which are total revenues collected via property taxes.

At a special school board meeting in Northport-East Northport on Thursday night, Superintendent Robert Banzer said he received a "$1 million phone call" that helped his district trim its levy to a zero increase. The call came from State Sen. James Gaughran (D-Northport), who secured additional state funding created to aid localities such as Northport that are adversely affected by tax-certiorari settlements.

In Northport's case, a recently settled legal dispute reduced the amount of property taxes that the Long Island Power Authority will pay the school system moving forward.

Budgets are for the 2021-22 school year. Here are details:

Bridgehampton: The district's budget proposal remains at $20.66 million, carrying a 8.81% spending increase and a 8.93% tax hike. The tax plan exceeds Bridgehampton's state-assigned cap restriction, and as a result, requires a 60% voter majority to pass.

Jennifer Coggin, the school business administrator, said the district fell only two votes short of obtaining that "supermajority" in the first round of balloting.

Northport-East Northport: The district has trimmed its proposed budget by about $14,000 to a total of $174.69 million. The revamped plan carries a 1.12% spending increase, down from 1.13%, along with a zero tax change, down from a 0.75% increase.

Banzer said extra state revenues will allow the district to maintain programs and improve buildings. Northport's budget requires a simple majority to pass.

Three Village: The district's proposed budget remains at $222.66 million, with a 1.75% spending hike and 1.85% tax increase.

Three Village's plan would exceed a state-imposed cap and requires a 60% voter majority. A statement posted on the district's website said the budget would sustain all current student services and programs, and that local officials were "keenly" planning for long-term fiscal stability.

Wantagh: The district's reduced $82.76 million budget would raise spending 1.88% and taxes 1.96%. The district's original plan, totaling $83.5 million, would have boosted spending 2.82% and taxes 3.82%.

The new proposal, much of which was included in the original budget, calls for cutting 28.5 staff positions, including administrators, teachers, clerical workers and security guards. Average class sizes in grades 1-3 would rise from 24 to 25 students and in grades 4-6 from 26 to 27 students.

Wantagh's plan exceeds a state tax cap and requires a 60% voter majority.

Under state law, districts losing two votes in a row must operate on "contingency" budgets that freeze taxes for a year and limit spending. At a Wantagh meeting Tuesday night, Superintendent John McNamara said his district's cap was so tight that compliance would result in a greater revenue loss than going on contingency.

At another point, McNamara reiterated an assertion made in the past, that salary raises for staff were a major factor in pressures to cut costs. He added that feedback from a recent district survey of residents found many asking, "Why are people getting raises?"

That drew a heated response from one audience member, Perry Fuchs, a local parent and teacher-union president in another district.

"The teachers here are not making exorbitant salaries," Fuchs said.

With Craig Schneider and Joie Tyrrell

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