Budget Increase Sneak-Peek

    The Montauk School Board on Tuesday learned of the biggest expenses that will hike up the 2012-13 budget proposal, which is expected to be released in full by March. Jack Perna, the district superintendent, said he was releasing the numbers early this year because of the 2-percent property tax cap that was initiated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, much to the dismay of schools across the state.
    The Montauk School will be able to work within the tax cap for this year, Mr. Perna said, “but over the next five years it will not be sustainable — for any district.” He explained to the board that a portion of the budget comes from the school’s fund balance, state aid, and unexpected revenues. But the bulk of the funding comes from taxpayers.
    Going over the numbers, Mr. Perna said the district would have to pay $4.44 million to East Hampton High School, from which 39 Montauk students will graduate in June, while 29 will start as freshmen in September.
    Special education services will cost the district $648,000, which includes the cost of an aide who might be needed for students who are physically disabled. Even if those students attend other schools, the district is required to pay for any extra services they might need until they reach the age of 21 or graduate, Mr. Perna said, adding that the figure could easily change if a student were to move into the district.
    Tuition to the Child Development Center of the Hamptons for six special education students and an aide is expected to cost $576,000, which includes an amount set aside in case another student moves into the district. Tuition, a full-time aide, and other related services, including summer school, physical therapy, and vision services, offered through the Board of Cooperative Educational Services will cost $416,774.
    “And that, ladies and gentlemen, are your biggest expenses other than payroll, which we are still negotiating,” Mr. Perna said.
    Budget workshops will continue through February and March right up until the final budget proposal is released and then rehashed. “This is January, so we’re nowhere close to giving that out,” Mr. Perna said.
    During the regular meeting before the budget workshop began, Karen Brown, the school’s internal claims auditor and secretary, told the board that things were running smoothly for the system that was put in place several years ago. She explained that staff members and teachers now understand the process through which they must file requisitions for approval before any work is done in the building or materials are purchased. “They know the drill,” she said.