The proposed budget for the Port Washington school district was lowered by about $180,000 since the last meeting of the Board of Education, an assistant superintendent announced at the board’s Tuesday meeting.
With the decrease, the current proposed budget amounts to about $160.5 million.
The expected tax increase remains at 2.87 percent for Port Washington’s taxpayers and the proposed budget is about 2.95 percent higher than the current year.
There were no changes made to the district’s additional staffing requests, which will amount to just over $400,000 in the budget for four new teachers, but the offered salary for a new assistant superintendent was reduced.
The gap between revenues and the proposed budget was reduced to about $270,000, a significant decrease from the $871,286 gap left open at the last meeting.
The board addressed the gap partly by reallocating money from the district’s workers’ compensation reserve in the amount of $250,000 and another $180,000 from funds in the current budget that are expected to be in surplus of what will be needed for the rest of the school year.
Mary Callahan, the assistant superintendent for business, said that she took small amounts from multiple accounts instead of large sums from a few.
An increase of $62,200 in state aid also helped close the gap.
Callahan said that she would be hesitant for the board to cut any further in the funds for the current school year.
“We are looking very closely at our current budget and have stopped our purchasing at this point without special approvals,” she said.
She said that since the beginning of the current budget, the board has cut almost $500,000.
Board member David Kerpen asked if Callahan had looked into the costs of maintaining the district’s print shop and if that is something that the district could cut.
Callahan said the district is investigating those costs although it would be imprudent for her to remove a cost without including the new cost of outside printing.
Emily Beys, a board member, suggested that the board wait until the April 8 budget meeting before cutting any further.
She said she has been assured that the state Senate is working very hard to have the state budget passed by April 1 and that senators feel strongly that they will be able to get more funds for school aid.
Board member Larry Greenstein emphasized the importance of being counted in the upcoming census because those numbers play a role in the amount of state aid the district receives.
He said Nassau County is one of the top five counties in the state to have people uncounted in the census and that children younger than 5 are the most omitted group.