Bayville resident Lucille Guibord follows along on a printed copy...

Bayville resident Lucille Guibord follows along on a printed copy as members of the Locust Valley School Board explain the options they are considering in a proposed budget revote. (June 1, 2011) Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

Locust Valley's school board Tuesday night called for a revote on a slightly trimmed $73.78 million budget, carrying a 2.7 percent spending increase and a 5.78 percent rise in property tax collections.

The board's unanimous decision was generally welcomed by a small crowd of parents and teachers, though some voiced disappointment that they couldn't vote a second time on the originally proposed $73.9 million budget. That measure, which would have raised spending 2.9 percent and taxes 5.81 percent, was narrowly voted down last month.

"I think what we've done is what people expected us to do," said Superintendent Anna Hunderfund. She noted the revised budget restored some programs originally slated for elimination, such as driver education, even with lower spending.

Deborah Scuderi, a mother of two who attended the meeting, applauded the decision.

"I'm OK with the reductions, because I think they came to that figure without jeopardizing any children's programs," she said.

The revote will be June 21, the statewide voting date. Oyster Bay-East Norwich, Seaford and Westbury already have scheduled revotes on trimmed budgets for that date.

Next year, Locust Valley plans to eliminate at least 26 positions, equally divided between teachers and other staff. In addition, seventh- and eighth-grade sports teams will be combined. If the budget loses on a second vote, the district would drop to a $72.94 million contingency budget that would raise spending 1.53 percent and taxes by 5.4 percent, and eliminate more than a dozen programs including elementary foreign language classes.

During the board campaign, there also was some debate over the district's International baccalaureate program. Supporters say the college-level program has boosted Locust Valley's academic reputation, while detractors say students find it hard to meet the program's demands. That program will be retained next year.

Many budget supporters agree that last month's budget rejection was the result of a bitter board election in which criticism of district operations was publicly aired. In that election, three incumbents lost to challengers backed by local teachers who were angry at their lack of a contract.

Gabriella Harrington, the teachers union president, confirmed that her group backed four challengers, including winners George Stimola, Maria Segura and Charles Murphy. Harrington declined to discuss contract issues but emphasized that teachers support passage of the budget.

"I don't want to see anything happen to the programs we offer in school," she said.

Latest videos