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Long IslandTowns

Smithtown school budget goes to ballot

A divided Smithtown school board voted late Tuesday to put a $212.3-million budget on the May 17 ballot. The budget would raise the tax levy by 4.9 percent.

The board’s vote was 5-2.

While most board members praised district officials for carefully pruning the budget to deal with an expected cut in state aid, board vice president Joseph Saggese said the cost-saving measures did not go far enough.

For example, he said, class sizes in the elementary schools should be raised to 30. The proposed budget would raise class sizes to 26 in some elementary grades and 28 in others.

“I don’t believe the district has made an effort to reduce expenditures,” Saggese said. “This is an insane budget. I can’t support it.”

Trustee Theresa Knox also voted against the budget.

Supporters of the budget blamed state lawmakers for shifting the tax burden to school districts, a move that board member Louis Liguori called a “shell game.”

“They’re not raising taxes, but it trickles down to those of us here,” he said.

 

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