School budget to max out tax levy cap at 3.91 percent

Class sizes maintained, pre-K expanded


The Bayport and Blue Point civic associations hosted BBP superintendent Dr. Timothy Hearney for a presentation on the 2024-2025 school budget as well as introductions for unopposed board of education candidates Mallory Dougherty and Paul Wright at the BBP Library on Tuesday, April 30.

Given the apprehension caused by the governor’s initial budget proposal in January for New York State public school’s in foundation aid that left a published gap of $576,508 (3.6 percent), attendees were alarmed at hearing the actual deficit had originally been over $1 million (11 percent) as additional monies originally given to the district were tied to pre-school expansion and categorical (e.g., building, transportation) expenses.

Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo (R-7th District) was in attendance and warmly thanked by Hearney for advocating for the district to pass the final budget last week that included a restoration of the foundation aid, as specified through the SAVE Harmless initiative that specified schools would not receive less than the previous year’s amount and an inflation increase.

The budget discussion with the community began in November with an email sent out that resulted in 900 respondents and nearly 350 comments, and 37,000 ratings on what should be included in the 2024-2025 budget.

“We asked the community, what are we doing well and what would you like for us to focus in moving forward?” said Hearney.

With all the information compiled from the community, the new strategic plan/mission was crafted: “Bayport-Blue Point provides a wide variety of opportunities, experiences, and supports that develop each student as a person and as a learner prepared to contribute positively to society.”

Hearney said that last year the school district spent 99.1 percent of their budget and that “there are probably no districts doing that tight of a budget.”

Over the last three years, the school budget has come under the tax levy cap, but this year, the budget will come right up to the cap, which is set at 3.91 percent.

The average extra that was not taxed was 1.96 percent over the last three years.

“When you do that, you have to be careful because you can never recover that money, and budgets are compounded year after year, so it has an impact,” said Hearney.

Hearney discussed times and components of the budget where actual expenses were not met having exceeded the estimate. Two examples were health insurance costs, which were estimated to rise 8 to 10 percent and in reality rose 15 percent, and interest rates, where an estimate of $40,000 was $400,000 after market instability.

To cover costs, the district has tapped into their savings.

In addition, it costs approximately 33 percent more to educate a student now compared to 11 years ago.

The budget for 2024-2025 is $85,882,466, a 2.91 percent increase ($2,429,100) and includes:

  • Expanded Pre-K
  • Increased elementary guidance counselor position to full-time
  • High School Robotics Club
  • Driver Education Vehicle
  • Maintenance of class sizes (approximately 22 to 23 students)
  • Additional cybersecurity
  • Replenishment of 1:1 devices (i.e. Chromebooks)
  • Additional special education class at elementary level.


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