Lake Ronkonkoma Civic Organization

Sachem School District Preliminary Budget

The Sachem School Board met February 24, 2016. Among other agenda items, they discussed the upcoming Budget. The Board has recently been forced to make mid-year budget adjustments to deal with financial shortfalls. The Board also decided to close three schools for the upcoming school year to address the emerging financial stress.

The financial shortfalls are substantially the result of years of reduced NY State School funding and unfunded State mandates. The actual amount of NY State school funding for 2016/2017 will not be finalized until the State finalizes its budget on or about April 1, but unfortunately preliminary funding projections are modest. While our local legislators are making every effort to provide additional funds, the Board needed to make preliminary decisions based on the preliminary funding projection.

The Board has tentatively decided to pierce the State property tax cap in order to properly fund the current level of school services. The State tax cap is 0.76% and the Board is proposing a 1.9% tax rate increase. The Board made this decision recognizing that the NY State tax rebate program refunding school property tax increases in Districts that stayed within the tax cap has ended and been replaced with a far more modest program. Thus the impact of piercing the cap is significantly reduced.

The Board fully intends to work with our State representatives to encourage additional State aid. Once the Board knows the final amount, final decisions about the proposed Sachem School Property Tax Rates, and the level of school services provided will be made. This should occur in the first weeks of April.