The Herricks Board of Education adopted a new budget in the amount of $134.7 million for the 2023-24 school year. The total amount represents an increase of 7.5% over the previous year’s figure of $125.3 million.
Excluding pending claims and the associated legal fees, the budget represents only a 5.3% increase, Superintendent Tony Sinanis said.
Sinanis and Assistant Superintendent for Business Lisa Rutkoske presented details of the new budget at the April 4th board meeting.
Budget design strategies and priorities highlighted in the presentation included upgrades to technology and instructional technology resources, increased enrichment opportunities through music, the arts, athletics and clubs, and a focus on maintenance and enhancement of district facilities.
The district is projected to raise the tax levy by 1.83%, which is equal to the tax cap determined by the state and falls below the 2% allowable growth factor limit.
Budget features include hiring assistant principals for Searingtown and Center Street Elementary Schools, funding for social-emotional learning programs, special education services, English as a New Language programs, new musical and athletic equipment and additional sports, such as varsity girls’ flag football, among other things.
The most significant expense increases occurred in the areas of claims and legal, health insurance and payroll.
On the revenue side, state aid represents 18% of incoming funds. Total state aid of $25 million represents an increase of $8 million over last year.
The presentation by Sinanis and Rutkoske showed that Foundation Aid accounts for 70% of the state aid total. Foundation Aid has been underfunded by nearly $6 million, however, New York State has committed to fully restore that deficit in the new budget.
Some notable district accomplishments were included by the presenters.
In addition to a 98% graduation rate, there were 11 finalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship competition, 3 Regeneron Science Talent Search Scholars and 312 AP scholars. Also, 91% of Herricks students earned Regents diplomas with advanced designation.
Members of the community will vote on the budget on May 16.