School Budget Passes

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Hicksville School District voters overwhelmingly approved the 2016-17 proposed budget on May 17. Proposition 1, the budget resolution, passed 1,279-406, earning a 75.91 percent approval. The district proposes to spend about $132.392 million, and its tax levy will rise by .18 percent, the limit imposed by the state-mandated property tax cap.

In his presentation at the May meeting of the Hicksville Community Council, Superintendent of Schools Carl Bonuso said the levy limit “was the lowest we’ve ever had here, and one of the lowest on Long Island. To the average homeowner, that comes out to less than $11 [tax increase] for the year.”

The year-to-year increase in the levy (the amount to be raised from taxpayers after accounting for all the other revenue sources) was $175,000. To put that figure into perspective, Bonuso noted that last year the district went to Senator Jack Martins and asked for help in repairing the playgrounds at the seven elementary schools. The senator came through with a $100,000 grant; money that the school did not have to pay out of pocket.

Proposition 2 passed by a 1,263-406 margin (75 percent). It was contingent on the passage of Proposition 1 and gave the district permission to establish a capital reserve fund of $2.650 million. The money will be used to improve the athletic facilities at the high school—installing new exterior bleachers and a press box, reconstructing the locker rooms and installing synthetic turf baseball and softball fields.

“The bleachers are not safe,” Bonuso said. “That’s not my view, that is also what architects have told us. They’re not handicapped accessible. Quite frankly, they need to be replaced.”
As for the fields, Bonuso said that the new surface would cover the infields only. “The turf that we’ll use is going to be safe—we’ve already done the research and so have many other districts,” Bonuso assured the audience.

Also approved was Proposition 3, spending $60,000 to the Hicksville Gregory Museum for educational services.

“The museum has been a valued partner with the district,” Bonuso said. “It’s a really nifty place, and I wish it was used more often.”

The figure represents a $10,000 increase, the first, according to Community Council President Harry Single Jr., in about 15 years.

Trustees James Mott and Patrick Stines chose not to run for re-election. Carla Hoene and Lynda Parmely ran unopposed and will be replacing them.

“On behalf of the board of education, I would like to express our appreciation to the residents of Hicksville and all of the organizations and community groups that supported the budget,” Bonuso said in a statement. “It has often been said that the greatest emotional investment we make is in our children, and the greatest financial investment is in our homes. A quality school system protects both of these investments and serves to enhance the quality of life in any community. The school team is looking forward to another exciting year educating and caring for the children of this beautiful school community.”

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Frank Rizzo is a journalist at Anton Media Group. With decades of experience in the industry, he is exceptionally equipped to cover local politics, business and other topics that matter to readers.

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