By Christine Sampson
The Sag Harbor School Board has formally adopted a $39.9 million 2017-18 budget plan to present to the community for a vote on May 16, along with separate propositions related to school buses and window replacement.
According to a presentation given during the school board’s April 19 meeting, the budget proposal represents a 2.92 percent year-over-year spending increase, or about $1.13 million more than the current year’s budget. The associated tax levy increase is 3.49 percent, which is actually under the district’s limit under the state tax levy cap of 3.86 percent.
Components of the proposed budget include the hiring of additional teachers for the English as a new language and special education programs. The budget also includes increased funding for Chromebook computers at Pierson Middle-High School, for participation in the International Baccalaureate program, for physical education, cardio and weight room equipment and more.
A separate proposition will ask voters to approve the creation of a new “transportation fleet capital reserve fund,” which school officials said the district would use to purchase new or replacement school buses. It would be capped at $2 million and have a life of 15 years. This reserve would not cost the taxpayers any additional money because it would be funded by year-end surpluses and by transferring money from the previously established bus fleet replacement reserve fund.
Another proposition, which also would tap funds already taken from taxpayers, would give the district permission to spend $1.2 million from its capital reserve fund to replace windows at Pierson and Sag Harbor Elementary School. The district’s building permits for the project expire in January 2018, but according to district officials it needs financing to pay for the replacement. By law, spending money from the capital reserve fund requires a community vote.
The vote will take place May 16 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Pierson High School gym.