Administration Responds to BAC Budget Report

The East Islip Board of Education held a work session on April 3 to publicly discuss the East Islip's Budget Advisory Committee's budget recommendations for 2012-2013, which had been presented at the prior meeting on March 27.

Superintendent John J. Finello began the proceedings by announcing the excellent news that the New York State Education Department intends to provide approximately $496,000 in additional state aid to East Islip schools. Citing the efforts of State Sen. Lee Zeldin, State Sen. John Flanagan, State Sen. Owen Johnson and Assemblyman Phil Boyle, he said, "We are fortunate and appreciative, and thank our legislators who worked hard to restore aid to East Islip."

After reiterating recent cost-cutting initiatives and new tax cap guidance provided by New York State, Assistant Superintendent for Business Carl Fraser then introduced the Response to Budget Advisory Committee presentation, explaining the district administration's views of the BAC's suggestions.

Board of Education President Glenn Reed praised the entire community's level of engagement and participation in the budget process and in funding advocacy, and challenged everyone involved to continue to find ways to contribute. "As a community, I am impressed with the efforts of both individuals and groups to bring forth the importance of education to East Islip and to our legislators," he said.

Recognizing the East Islip community's feedback in supporting such choices as the restoration of full-day kindergarten and the music and sports programs, Reed said, "At this point, the Board's thinking is that we don't believe we can accept the level of cuts that would be needed to stay within a tax levy cap. The final choice we have come to is to pierce the cap, as the best of the worst choices."

Reed added that the question will now be whether 60 percent of voters will support piercing the tax levy cap. "The ultimate decision is in the hands of the community," he said.

A number of students, parents and residents then addressed the board and community, assessing the budget recommendations and praising the suggested program restorations, including a contingent from the high school's varsity lacrosse team who spoke eloquently about the many benefits of athletics.