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Cuomo Proposes Less Aid for Port Jeff Next Year, More for Comsewogue

While the governor's state aid proposals are still subject to negotiations with lawmakers, initial proposals differ for Port Jefferson and Comsewogue School Districts.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed executive budget for next year may include nearly 5 percent more aid to local school districts across the state, but aid to Comsewogue is expected to increase less than 3.5 percent, while Port Jefferson School District is in line to actually receive less money next year in state aid.

Port Jefferson school officials say, however, the drop shouldn't affect the projected tax levy increase – 2.35 percent – as proposed in next year's budget, since the school is expected to see a drop in enrollment in the 2013-2014 school year. While administrators are still analyzing numbers, a maximum 3 percent tax levy cap is permitted for next year, including exemptions permitted in state law.

"While the changes decrease aid to the district, the changes should not effect our budget," said Sean Leister, assistant superintendent of business for the district, via email. 

According to state aid numbers, PJSD received $3,086,494 last year in total aid, compared to the $3,042,147 proposed in the coming year by Cuomo.

The final number each district will receive is still subject to future negotiations between the governor and state lawmakers.

Statewide, aid to local school districts is expected to increase 4.4 percent, according to the governor's office, an increase statewide of $889 million, or an average of $300 per student.

Comsewogue School District sees an overall proposed increase in total aid of $816,886, or 3.34 percent, up to $25.2 million total. The foundation aid would stay the same at $21,914,303, and increases can be found in Boces and Special Services, Hardware and Technology and Transportation.

In Comsewogue, administrators went through budget issues last season, with an original cap-busting budget falling just 28 votes shy of the supermajority needed.

A revised budget, which dropped the original proposed tax levy increase from 4.5 to the district’s cap of 2.6 percent, passed overwhelmingly. After getting a look at early state aid estimates, the district plans to stay under the cap with this year’s proposal, according to Assistant Superintendent for Business Susan Casali.

“At this point we haven’t gotten the backup data on the budget,” Casali said. “I think it’s a great starting point, but were hoping that we get some additional aid through the retirement system money.”

“It’s a little bit lower than we’d hoped,” Casali said, “We’re going to find out more about his proposals. At least the numbers didn’t come out that much differently, There are still a lot of changes on these numbers; on my calculations, it shouldn’t be that bad.”

Last year, than Cuomo had proposed, which was used to curb layoffs. than originally projected.

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