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Patchogue-Medford school district budget passes easily

Voters in the Patchogue-Medford school district easily approved a $173 million budget Tuesday, a month after rejecting the same budget when it was tied to a transportation proposal that would have pushed the local tax levy above the state tax-cap limit.

Patchogue-Medford was the only district on Long Island to schedule a revote after the May 19 election that hinged on a student busing proposal that cost $423,440.

District clerk Dennis Logan said the budget passed with nearly 68 percent margin, with 1,747 yes votes to 831 no votes. A simple majority was required for approval.

The budget measure did not pass in May, partly because the proposal caused the budget to hike the tax levy increase to 3.8 percent and, therefore, required approval by 60 percent of the voters.

The busing proposal, which had also been rejected last year, was not under consideration Tuesday, when residents cast votes from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

During the May 19 vote, the proposal was voted down resoundingly, with 524 yes votes and 2,668 no votes.

It would have extended the distance that the district would pay for busing of students to private schools from 15 miles outside the district to 25 miles. Supporters said it could save the district money by encouraging students to remain in private schools, where most of their costs are paid by parents.

The district's proposed budget, unlike the busing proposition, enjoyed wide support, with 1,845 yes votes to 1,411 no votes, but it did not reach the 60 percent majority mandated by the cap law.

By itself, the proposed budget increases the tax levy by 2.86 percent, which equals the state-mandated cap. The levy would rise from $100,682,131 to $103,563,276.

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