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Comsewogue's Cap-Busting Budget Fails by 33 Votes, District Recounting

School board member says voter turnout was 25 percent higher.

Comsewogue school district's did not get the supermajority it needed to pass. On Tuesday night the budget failed by a vote of ‎1514 to 1064, not enough to get the 60 percent required, according to school board member Rob DeStefano.

Update: School board member Fran Alabau-Blatter says that the district is recounting the votes. Check back for final results.

At 4.5 percent, the Superintendent's budget proposed to raise the tax levy above the state mandated maximum. To do this, the budget needed to pass by 60 percent of the vote. Ultimately it did not get the votes it needed to pass.

The budget ended up getting 58.7 percent of the residents voting yes, just over 1 percent shy of passing. The difference was 33 votes.

DeStefano said that ‎there was a 25 percent increase in voter turnout over recent years.

The budget was hotly debated over the last few months because it represented a and came after .

During the lead up to the election, Superintendent Joseph Rella tested public sentiment for passing a cap-busting budget. After much debate, Rella ultimately proposed the 4.5 percent plan calling it "educationally sound" in presentations.

According to Assistant Superintendent for Business, Susan Casali, by law the next budget vote will be Jun 19. Casali said that the Board of Education will decide which budget to present. She said that they have already stated at the public meetings they will present the property tax cap level budget of 2.6 percent with $2.9 million needed to be eliminated from the total budget.

If that budget is ultimately defeated and the district is forced to implement a zero percent increase in the tax levy, then it would need to cut $4.4 million from the existing budget.

Voting took place at gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Earl May 18, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Go on the school districts website and you can see what is in the tax cap budget. The pennies sure do add up, but that happens in every area. The cost of everything goes up, don't expect it to come down. I'll be curious to see who the first people are to complain after the changes take affect.
Anton May 19, 2012 at 08:10 PM
"People need to learn how to handle their finances." Exactly. This includes the school disctricts.
Anton May 19, 2012 at 08:20 PM
What if, instead of using the BS coffee comparison, you said, "one extra car payment per year," or "one extra monthly food bill per year," or "one month's worth of gasoline?" I guess that wouldn't make us feel nearly as guilty as the, "cup of coffee" comparison. Since when did we start using coffee as our currency instead of the US dollar? It's funny how in almost every discussion about a school budget, at some point a condescending school employee converts dollars to coffee. Enough of the nonsense. We really don't want to hear it.
Fred May 20, 2012 at 02:44 AM
I'm not happy with the changes/cuts either, but I still don't agree with your argument. "Cost of everything goes up" does not support this budget. These yearly increases have outpaced inflation, Consumer Price Index, wages or whatever indicator you want to use. There are many issues to contend with here, but what sticks out to me is the lack of foresight. Last year there were givebacks, positions eliminated and a huge tax increase. Did no one on the BOE think about what they were going to do next (this) year? I'd love to see a budget/system that provides long term sustainability, but I won't hold my breath.
Anton May 21, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Sachem's budget passed by 18 votes, no recount mentioned. See how this works? If it failed by 18 they'd be recounting for sure.

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