Herricks proposes 39% of 2024-2025 budget for lawsuit expenses

Herricks proposes 39% of 2024-2025 budget for lawsuit expenses

The Herricks School District has drafted a new estimated budget for 2024-2025, proposing an allocation of 39% of the budget for claims and legal fees amid various lawsuits and Child Victim Act cases.

The district is increasing its expenses for claims and legal fees by $2,696,000 in the proposed budget. This comes after multiple Child Victim Act cases regarding child sexual abuse by several teachers were filed against the district in the last four years.

“It is in the best interest of the District to enter into settlement agreements with certain plaintiffs who have commenced actions against the District pursuant to the Child Victims Act,” the district wrote in its meeting agenda. “Additional funding will be needed to support the unanticipated expenses associated with settlement of said claims not included in the 2023-2024 budget; and, Therefore: it is the recommendation of the Superintendent of Schools that the following resolutions be adopted.”

The school board also voted to enter a settlement agreement in the lawsuit John Doe v. Herricks Union Free School District Thursday night.

“For claims and legal – because it does continue to be a challenge for most of the district – in 2023-2024 alone, we had $2.1 million set aside for claims alone,” board trustee Nancy Feinstein said. “We have almost $5 million this year set aside for legal and claims in the 2024-2025 budget is the assumption.”

The district presented its draft budget a the Herricks Board of Education meeting Thursday night, with the budget proposal set at about $141.7 million.

The draft budget proposed is a 5.2% increase from the 2023-2024 budget, but a 3.25% increase excluding claims and legal fees.

The district is also proposing a tax levy increase of 2.38%, which is permitted within the state’s tax cap.

The school district’s budget also calls for major increases in other areas including health insurance, payroll and transportation, signaling plans to purchase new school buses and replace bus patrol onboard cameras.

In the upcoming school year, the district is also looking to hire an additional school counselor at Herricks Middle School and a special education teacher at the elementary level.

Foreseeable upgrades in facilities and equipment include refurbishments of select classrooms across the district and renovations of the HMS auxiliary gymnasium and kitchen.

In other news, the board also welcomed students, parents and faculty from Searingtown Elementary School Thursday night for their presentation of P.S. I Love You Day, a non-profit organization in New York State that aims to support individuals who suffer from mental illness.

“We’re so happy to have our wonderful fourth-grade Searingtown scholars to come and share what P.S. I Love You Day is all about,” Searingtown Elementary social worker Cathy Wong said.

Fourth-grade students shared with the Board of Education what the celebration means to them.

“P.S. I Love You Day teaches us about why mental health is important and we all need to take care of ourselves and each other,” said one fourth-grade student during their presentation.

With the day’s theme of love, one student said how the day taught them how to give love to themselves and their community.

“Thank you to all of our Searingtown kids,” Vice President Henry R. Zanetti said. “You did a great job. Love is in the air and it’s a great thing. Thank you all so much.”

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here