Herricks board adopts 2024-2025 proposed budget

Herricks board adopts 2024-2025 proposed budget
Herricks High School. (Photo courtesy of Herricks Public Schools)

Herricks School District board members adopted a proposed budget of $141,710,364 for the 2024-2025 school year during a meeting Thursday night.

The budget, which is subject to voter approval, represents a 5.2% increase over the $134,719,970 budget for 2023-2024 – an increase of $6,990,394.

Board members said the larger-than-usual increase was due in part to the cost of settling child sex abuse claims against the district filed under the Child Victims Act. The act extended the statute of limitations for survivors of child sex abuse.

The district has paid $1.1 million to settle four of 21 claims thus far.

Without the increased costs being allocated toward pending claims and legal fees, the budget-to-budget increase would be 3.25%, which is much more comparable to other district budget-to-budget increases, Superintendent Tony Sinanis said.

The proposed tax levy increase is 2.38%, which is within the state tax cap. Sinanis said the average tax levy increase over the past seven years was 1.78%.

There are currently 4,330 students enrolled in the Herricks district, so the spending per pupil in 2023-2024 was $31,113.

While many districts in Nassau County lament the changes in state aid under Gov. Kathy Hochul, Herricks officials said they were pleased with their current aid.

State aid will provide around 20% of total district revenues in the 2024-2025 budget, according to the administration.

A total state aid of $27 million, excluding universal pre-kindergarten allocations, is included in the 2024-2025 budget proposal. This is an 11% over the current year,

“We are fortunate as a district that we are seeing an increase here,” Assistant Superintendent for Business Lisa Rutkoske said. “We don’t anticipate that level of increase going into [2025 and 2026].”

The 2024-2025 budget proposal features a number of school improvements, including the addition of a school counselor at the Herricks Middle School, the addition of a special education teacher at the elementary level, funding to enhance English as a second language programs, the purchase of new textbooks, cybersecurity upgrades, extended security hours through 8 p.m. and the purchase of three school buses.

The proposed budget also includes facility upgrades, including classroom updates, select bathroom upgrades across the district, a new fence around the high school varsity baseball field, playground updates at the elementary schools and asphalt and concrete work at the Denton Avenue Elementary School.

A budget hearing is set for May 9 and the budget vote and trustee elections are scheduled for May 21.

There are currently two seats on the Herricks board up for election.

Trustee Nancy Feinstein, who served on the board for 12 years, is not running for re-election. Trustee Brian Hassan is running for re-election. Resident Eric Lo is running for election.

The deadline to file petitions to run for a spot on the board is April 22.

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