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Long Island

Six school budgets up for revote Tuesday

A voter arrives Tuesday morning at Merrimac Elementary

A voter arrives Tuesday morning at Merrimac Elementary School on Broadway Avenue to cast her vote in Holbrook. (June 18, 2013) Photo Credit: James Carbone

Voters head to the polls Tuesday for budget revotes in six Long Island school districts where proposed 2013-14 spending plans were rejected last month.

Two of the six, North Babylon and Manhasset, again are trying to pierce their respective tax-cap limits, and their budgets must get 60 percent approval of those voting.

The other four districts -- Baldwin, East Quogue, Sachem and South Country -- have spending plans with tax-levy increases that are equal to or less than their tax-cap limits. Budgets in those districts must get 50 percent approval of those voting.

Tax-levy limits differ by district. While a 2 percent growth factor is used in calculating each district's tax cap, other factors, such as exemptions for school-renovation costs, mean that the tax-levy limit for individual districts varies widely.

In North Babylon, the district is asking for a 3.4 percent tax-levy increase, above its cap of 2.65 percent, the same level as the budget that did not pass on May 21.

The proposed $112,010,068 budget preserves all academics, athletics, fine and performing arts and extracurricular activities. If rejected by voters, an austerity budget would mean elimination of all sports teams, including varsity and junior varsity, as well as the loss of all extracurricular activities, district officials have said.

In Manhasset, the school board is proposing a 2013-14 budget of $86,176,419 that would mean a 1.97 percent tax-levy increase, above the district's cap of 0.15 percent. If the proposal does not get 60 percent of the votes, the tax levy will drop to zero, sparking cuts.

Manhasset superintendent Charles Cardillo said he has been encouraged by the community's response to the revised budget.

"Many people seem pleased that the revised budget is able to maintain the integrity of the core academic programs at the elementary, middle school and high school levels while at the same time continuing to place a high value on maintaining the arts, athletics and after-school programs," he said.

Baldwin and Sachem both are seeking a 3.14 percent rise -- equal to their tax-levy limits -- and South Country is seeking a 0.95 percent increase, just below its 0.98 percent limit, officials said.

Sachem faces the loss of 229 faculty and staff and possible consolidation or closure of schools under the revised budget, the district has said.

East Quogue will ask for a 2.45 percent tax-levy increase, just below its 2.46 percent cap.

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