Deer Park schools could be receiving a small bump in state aid for the 2013/14 school year, but the increase will not come close to helping close the $3 million budget gap facing the school district.
That was the assessment offered by Superintendent Eva Demyen at Tuesday night’s board of education meeting.
Demyen noted that prior to the meeting she had received information from State Sen. Phil Boyle, R-Bay Shore, about the bump in state aid. She did not offer any specifics in terms of dollars, but documents released by state Tuesday show the district currently stands to receive an additional $376,405 (a 1.7 percent hike) in state aid under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget. Final figures, however, will not be known for several weeks as the state legislature and governor negotiate final state budget numbers.
While noting the increase is a positive for the school district, the superintendent said Deer Park still faces significant budget challenges.
“There is no way to cut $3 million out of the budget without impacting [student] programs,” she said. “In the end, this will have an impact on the children.”
Increasing health insurance and pension costs are expected to be a major issue this year for school districts across Long Island, including Deer Park, as each develops their respective spending plan for the 2013-14 school year. With the tax levy cap limiting the amount of revenue school districts can raise to offset cost increases, programming cuts are a greater possibility.
Deer Park residents will get a first look at the budget at the Feburary 26 board of education meeting.
Former BOE member returns
With the retirement of BOE trustee Ron Wayne, which was announced at the December board meeting, a familiar face has returned to fill the open seat.
Trustees unanimously approved the return of former trustee Al Centamore. A resident of Deer Park for more the 60 years, he previously served as a BOE trustee for 16 years beginning in the late 1980s.
Centamore said he would serve on the board through the end of June. The seat he now holds will be put up for election on Super Tuesday in May, but he was unsure if he would run.