District Says Budget Approval is Good for Students, Homeowners

Superintendent Edward Ehmann says this budget was the best way to balance uncontrollable costs the district is facing and keeping program in tact.

Voters for the on Tuesday, something Superintendent Edward Ehmann said is beneficial to both the students in the district and homeowners.

The approval had a difference of nearly 2,000 votes Tuesday, with a final tally of 3,587 to 1,618.

"We're very pleased that the budget passed and what it means for the district is that we're able to maintain much of the core program that is so valuable to the students of this district," he said.

While the budget was approved, Ehmann said going into Tuesday that he had confidence voters would approve the budget but wasn't sure how many people would hit the polls and vote "no."

"You always have a question mark I guess as to how the community is going to respond ... the facts of the matter are the district has been very dilligent over the past five years in curbing the tax levy increase for the community," he said.

Ehmann stated that in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 school years there was a 0 percent tax levy increase, in 2010-11 there was a 1.7 percent increase, in 2011-12 there was a 4.9 percent increase, and with this approval there will be a 2.3 percent increase. The average increase over this period of time is 1.74 percent.

Readers have hit the Smithtown Patch comments section to voice displeasure with the budget, and questioned why there is a tax levy increase when the closing next year of Nesconset Elementary should save the district almost $1 million and 45 teachers and faculty members would be out of work saving the district more than $3 million.

While the budget process has come under fire by locals, Ehmann maintains the budget is good for all people involved, homeowners and students.

"People are upset over any increase, I get it, but many times there are some costs that we have no control over so you have two choices: reduce your program or raise the levy, and what we try to do is a combination of both," he said.

Center Moriches Retiree May 17, 2012 at 01:21 PM
I can't believe there is only one comment on this. At what point do homeowners realize that no matter how good the schools are if prospective buyers can't afford the taxes propert values go down?
Rich Carlson May 17, 2012 at 01:41 PM
You need good schools so our kids don't wind up working for a landscaper for the rest of their lives . Both of my children transferred college credits from Smithtown east they are on the deans list at Stonybrook and oneonta this happens with a lot of children from our district . Could your taxs be to high. Because you bought that 4000 square foot home or is that leased Lexus killing you or the soccer mom escalade .
Sticks60 May 17, 2012 at 01:49 PM
I agree with Ehmann on the control issue. With the cost of education being governed by labor contracts that we seem to have little or no control over we get into the situation we are in today. In the last 2 years when there was no deal in place over 90% of the teachers were getting $3150 raises for just showing up. We also have to pay the administrators their increases as well. The seeds of this mess were planted in a binding arbitration contract handed down in 2006 and to this day they continue to bare the fruit we have to eat today. Oh on taxes and land values. A few months ago, when a friend trying to sell his house in Smithtown got his new tax bill he had to lower the price of his house over $5000 because the tax took dollars away from what a new owner could use to pay a mortgage.
interested May 18, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Sticks - there is no binding arbitration in teacher contracts. "90% were getting $3,150 raises just for showing up"? Where are you drawing that figure from? Also, were they showing up, or doing their jobs? Your house is worth what anyone is willing to pay for it at any given moment; I suggest a realtor told him he thought it was still worth its 2007 price.
aweissbier May 21, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I agree. I think many around town are living way above their salaries and with the sins of Wall St. they now realize the situation is really bad. The only scapegoat is to blame their civil servants who by the way can't afford to live in Smithtown.


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