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Superintendent: Budget Will Have Close to a Zero Percent Increase

The North Bellmore School District announces its proposed budget.

Superintendent Arnold Goldstein announced on Wednesday that there will be a close to zero percent budget increase in the North Bellmore School District's  2012-2013 school budget.

The proposed budget for the upcoming school year is $47,901,815 million.

"The budget increase is at negative .27 percent, the lowest we have ever had," Goldstein said. "We will not have class increases and we will not cut any programs.

According to Goldstein, last year's budget increased 2.18 percent, which at the time was the district's lowest. The 2011-2012 budget was $48,029,117 million.

In December 2011, the North Bellmore Board of Education announced that Jacob Gunther Elementary School will close in June. Goldstein said that the decision to close the facility lead to the low budget increase.

"This is the result of the closing of a building which has caused anguish in this community," he said.

Goldstein said that the closing of a building, the tightening of the budget and retirement incentives saved the district $1.2 million.

Erin March 22, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Nice quote: "This is the result of the closing of a building which has caused anguish in this community," he said. Sounds like the building was causing anguish to the community. Didn't Goldstein say that the closing of the building wasn't for monetary reasons, but due to enrollment issues. Which is it?
Merrick7 March 22, 2012 at 04:29 PM
@ Steve, while I can tell you are upset by the closing, everyone knows that when a school is closed for enrollment reasons, it is because it would be fiscally irresponsible to keep the building open. All districts on Long Island are projected for a steep decrease in enrollment of children over the next decade. The cost of running the average school building on long island, with both insurance, energy costs, staff, and maintenance is around 1 million a year. When the school's enrollment was heading for a decline toward the eventual 100 students it was fiscally irresponsible to keep it open.
Merrick7 March 22, 2012 at 04:31 PM
This is quite impressive budgeting for a very good school district on long island. It is unfortunate the other component districts and the central high school district could not follow a similar rationale of fiscal prudence.
Erin March 22, 2012 at 04:33 PM
He's quite a superstar.
Liz Berger March 23, 2012 at 03:26 PM
or consolidate No Bellmore/Bellmore school district? Also unfortunate!
Mike March 23, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Zero percent increase. This December 2012 stuff must really be true!
peter March 24, 2012 at 03:21 AM
Apporx 2300 students $47 mil to run the schools = $19,000 to educate one student. Thats a lot of $$. SUNY is Cheaper than that.
Merrick7 March 24, 2012 at 08:55 PM
I understand that yes the bellmore district teachers gave back their salary raise for the next year but that did not prevent a budget increase or stop a higher tax rate. To my understanding the district teachers also did not give up their STEP raises, which will average a 2 % increase in salary anyways. The 2 percent they gave back was on top of that.
Merrick7 March 24, 2012 at 08:57 PM
how would it invalidate my comment? I am not specifying district union teachers in budgeting matters. I am congratulating a school board for finding a way to not increase taxes. You understandably are faced with a great deal of anger about the decision. However, my comment was correct, that the other districts will have a budget increase and north bellmore will not.
Merrick7 March 24, 2012 at 08:58 PM
@Peter this includes a very large amount of state aid, which SUNY also receives so it actually costs more per child at SUNY to go to college and state aid balances costs of primary education
peter March 24, 2012 at 10:21 PM
the point is 19k is a lot of mony to educate a kid in grade school.The HS amount is about 22k. Give me a choice, give me the money let me spend where i want and let the schools compete for my money.
Merrick7 March 26, 2012 at 02:09 AM
O I completely agree. I think there is a great deal of overspending due to unfair contracts and favorable union laws driving up costs making education expensive but not necessarily better. The original intention of a school district was for them to entirely decide the curriculum for their prescribed area and come up with their own negotiations. Due to congressional overreach the state and federal governments have infringed on the freedoms of individual districts driving up costs of both unions and general education and diminishing the value of local input. I was merely pointing out to you that it is not less expensive at SUNY. It just appears so on its face.
Erin March 26, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Don't be mistaken. N. Bellmore taxes will go go up.
Angela Bennett March 30, 2012 at 02:49 PM
I truly believe there will be a zero percent increase for two reasons; the first being that some very dedicated parents have spent months reviewing financial statements and past actual figures from previous budgets and discovered the overbudgeting our District used in the last two years previous budgets. Yes, you could say that we are in a better place than other Districts right now, but we have closed a school, our class sizes are no longer some of the smallest around, and while our program is great, it could have been amazing had some of the millions of additional accumulated dollars been spent on the children, not the employees in their salaries and the reserves. In other words, we have paid the priced to be in this position. Again, even this year, we have "extra money" but where will it go...possibly to fund the monies needed for sick pay for those retiring, yet we also have $1,800,000.00 in a reserve for just that reason. The second reason I believe it is a zero percent increase budget is because there is a good chance the budget may not pass this year because of the school closing, and the discovery of the amount of monies that has been put into reserves over the last two years. For the District to put out a budget with any increase at all would have devastating results. Even at a zero percent increase, for some of us, our taxes will go up. This year has been eye opening to say the least. Our children deserve more of the pot of gold.
Merrick7 April 05, 2012 at 01:12 PM
@Steve, the point I was trying to make was the budget would not increase taxes may very well still increase due to changes in assessments and valuations especially since the end of the "County Guarantee" begins in 2013, which will require school districts and others to pay for property tax challenges. But the budget will not increase, I do believe that. The closing of the school and excessing building employees allows plenty of room to avoid a tax increase for at least this year.
Erin April 05, 2012 at 01:38 PM
The district is receiving way more money from the State than they had anticipated. Was there considered planning here at all? It's unfortunate they hadn't waited, and not rushed this through; a strategy that was suggested. A community is now without their neighborhood school; having long-term affects on the community. "Excessing building employees"? The teachers are being moved (as planned prior to this windfall from the State). Some staff is retiring, and those who are being excised are a few support staff positions. The building is being maintained at a higher cost, and any rental income to offset the budgeted money for this?? Yet to be seen. Now the district is just looking for ways to spend our money.
Greg Bashaw April 07, 2012 at 12:26 AM
Though the Board voted to close a school because many families cannot handle the taxes at the current level, I wonder how closing a school would enable them to afford the taxes they NOW have. I do not fault anybody 's decision, but financially, it just doesnt add up. We cant keep closing schools, becuase pretty soon it will be like Little House on the Prairie. With the same administration and staffing levels, and just a one room schoolhouse. GB GB Greg
linda smith May 15, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Why not eliminate the varied excess positions within the North Bellmore School District? How many Asst. Superintendent's do we need? Have you ever visited the District offices in the summer or tried to get through to them? I have and what was observed was clerical staff and Administrators sitting around chatting while the telephones went to voicemail. Great system. Maybe we should start right there.
linda smith May 15, 2012 at 03:22 PM
How about having business professionals (CPAs, MBAs) run the NBSD instead of Administrators? We would probably save millions.
Erin May 15, 2012 at 04:03 PM
Vote! Vote for a member of our community who's been involved in holding the schools & the district and the administrators accountable for years and who sees that it's time for a new voice. My vote is going to Marc Berkowitz. Unlike one or two of the other candidates, he's not a one-hit wonder, he's not someone who just jumped into this for personal reasons, for one agenda.; he's been involved and has been seeking change, and conversations that will bring trust back b/ween the BOE & the community. I admire the dedication of the volunteer committee (although am in disagreement with some of their decisions!), it's time to turn over the reins. Unlike what the slanted "Bellmore Herald" inferred in their endorsements of the incumbent, he is not running because of a school closing, he is not seeking revenge or pay-back on the District. He is and has always been concerned for ALL the STUDENTS of the entire district. It's an insult to believe that because he has kids in the district schools that he won't be able to make decisions that are unbiased. It's because he currently has kids in the district that makes him more able to make his decisions w/out outside influence.

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