of the Arts Musical Performances
May 16, 2017
3:30 - 6pm at Commack Middle School
5-5:30 Jazz Performance at Commack High School
Visual Arts Displays
at Polling Locations All
The Board of Education welcomes all community members to attend all
Board of Education Meetings and
Budget Work Sessions. If you have any
questions, please send an email to
Please include your name
and address if you'd like us to consider a question for posting (for
verification purposes only, private information will not be posted with
This page will be
updated frequently during the budget process with additional information
and presentations. Please check back after each of the scheduled Budget
Workshops and Hearings.
Requests for copies of the
proposed annual operating budget for the succeeding year (and all
required attachments) should be made at least seven days before the
Budget Hearing. Copies are also available at district office (Hubbs),
public libraries, and on this website.
will be held at Commack High School on May 4, 2017, and at Commack Middle School on May 10, 2017, from 9am until 9pm. The
budget vote and trustee election is on May 16, 2017, from 6am until 9pm. For voting information,
please see page 6 of the calendar.
Property Taxes & the Tax
the property tax cap?
tax cap law establishes a limit on the annual growth of property taxes
levied by local governments and school district to two percent or the
rate of inflation, whichever is less.
Who is subject to the tax cap?
cap applies to all independent school districts and to all local
governments including counties, cities, towns, villages, and special
districts. The cap does not apply to New York City.
Are there exceptions to the tax cap?
are exclusions to the cap, including certain costs of
significant judgments arising out of tort actions, and large
year-to-year increases in pension contribution rates assessed by ERS and
Is there an override mechanism to the tax cap?
tax levy cannot exceed the cap unless 60 percent of voters (for school
districts) or 60 percent of the total voting power of the governing body
(for local governments) approve such increase.
above information is from The Property Tax Cap; Guidelines for
Implementation, New York Department of Taxation and Finance and the New
York State Department.
What's the difference between the Tax Levy and the Tax Rate?
Tax Levy - the actual amount of taxes
collected by the Town(s) and allocated to school districts. This number
is set by school districts by the end of October every year.
Tax Rate - the amount collected from each
property owner as determined by the Town Assessor, not the school
district. The increase in the rate may be more or less than the
increase in the tax levy, depending on the increase of decrease in
property values in any town.
How is the Tax Levy determined?
The Board of
Education must assess a TAX LEVY for the coming school year. This is
the total amount of money that the Board determines will be needed to
balance the school budget after State Aid and other revenue sources are
taken into account. The overall tax levy is
projected before the school
budget vote in May, but the school board can amend the levy if
conditions change before the tax levy is finalized in late September.
What is the town's responsibility in assessing the Tax Levy?
District is split between the Town of Huntington and the Town of
Smithtown. In the late spring, the towns prepare a Final Assessment Roll for
that year listing all parcels of property and the assessed value of
each property. Information from these rolls is shared with the school
typically in September. The school district has no jurisdiction or
authority in the assessed values of each homeowner.
What is the state's responsibility in assessing the Tax Levy?
The State Office
of Real Property Services (ORPS) attempts to "equalize" property
assessments throughout New York State. ORPS compares properties in every
town and how they are currently assessed by the Town Assessor and calculates an EQUALIZATION
RATE for each town. This is done because every town uses different
measurements and calculations to determine assessed values; there is no
state-wide system. The equalization rate represents the state's judgment
of how closely assessed values in that town match true market value of
When are Tax Bills printed and mailed?
December 1, individual tax bills are printed and mailed to
owners by the respective Towns of Huntington and Smithtown. Individual tax bills are calculated using:
assessed value of each land parcel as determined by the Town
applicable exemptions (STAR, disability, senior citizen,
school tax rate for that town that year.
What's going on with the rental buildings?
five buildings that are no longer utilized as schools for our Commack
students. Some have athletic fields that our athletic teams use for
practices, and the community uses for outside sports teams. These buildings
are rented to a number of tenants that generate rental income. Not every
room in each building may be rented at any given time. The
uses some areas for storage, Summer Programs, and District offices.
has the District done to control spending, maximize costs, maximize
efficiency and increase cost effectiveness?
The District has been
making strides to review areas to maximize efficiencies and make
reductions where possible through efficient bidding, requests for
proposals, and use of County and BOCES contracts to maximize volume
The Energy Performance Contracts have greatly
increased our cost savings and decreased energy usage, while improving our
facilities, also at no cost to our residents . We also monitor the costs of fuel and oil, and routinely alternate
to the energy that is less expensive. The District has software in
place that automatically shuts down computers at night, employees are
reminded to conserve and shut off lights when leaving rooms and
buildings for time periods greater than one hour (many buildings have
motion sensors). As a
result of the EXCEL grant and the EPC, energy savings though energy
efficient equipment and new roofs have been realized.
District explored regional solutions to cost savings?
Yes, the District
participates in many BOCES programs and services that save money through
a cooperative approach. The District also participates in a purchasing
cooperative with Eastern and Western Suffolk BOCES and actively uses county and
state contracts to obtain better pricing and maximize savings.
Participation in these programs often reduces costs by as much as 30% over
individual purchases, due to the tremendous purchasing power of the 73
school Districts, two colleges and three towns that participate in the
much of the budget do residents vote on?
Residents vote on the
entire budget. This is a “YES” or “NO” vote to authorize the District to
spend an amount of money. The budget includes funding for employee
salaries and benefits, which the District is contractually bound to pay. As with any
contract, the terms of these agreements can only be altered with the
consent of both parties – the District and its employee bargaining
units. Voting no on the budget does not change the terms of these
contracts. Some contractual items are determined and assessed by the
State and outside of District control.
can parents and community members do to communicate with legislature?
encourages you to express your right and communicate with your elected
representatives. To that end, we post contact information for you to
facilitate that effort on our website.
What programs are mandated by the state?
The overwhelming portion of the District's budget goes toward meeting state and federal mandates and requirements: some are funded by the State, but many are not â€” everything from areas of study to building climate issues to transportation regulations.
Elementary school mandates include instruction in math, science, English language arts, social studies, health, physical education, art, ENL, and music.
Middle and high school students are required, among other mandates, to have a certain amount of units of study for English, social studies, math, technology, science, physical education, home and career skills, the arts, library skills, ENL, and second language.
Statewide testing in grades 3 through 8 was instituted with no provisions for additional funds to pay for the testing and scoring of these mandated assessments.
Will the District continue reviewing field trips next year?
The District is extremely mindful of the economy and the effect on our residents. We will continue reviewing field trips for efficiency, effectiveness and educational value. While field trips will always play a role in our education process, the manner in which we conduct them continues to be evaluated. Some educational field trips that have historically been off site may be brought on site and still provide the same educational advantages. The District also believes some trips are too valuable as off site experiences and they will continue to be held.
What do the long-range enrollment projections look like, and what are the budget implications?
Kindergarten registration is still in progress, although our long range enrollment data shows that we will be continuing a downward trend in student enrollment in the next few years. Appropriate reductions or increases will be made as needed. We are monitoring birth rates in both Huntington and Smithtown and noted a slight increase last year. Birth rates are important in that they provide some long-term data that can be used to predict future enrollments. Children born today can generally be expected to start school five years from now.
Why does the bus drive down my street multiple times in a morning
A bus will often
traverse a certain street more than once because of the other areas it
needs to travel to in the neighborhood or development and because best
safety practices often impose right-side of the street student pickups. These make it
especially likely that buses will travel a main artery more than once
when they are in the area.
It’s also possible
that this is more than one bus driving down the street for different
reasons (see next question).
multiple buses drive down my street within the span of a few minutes?
That depends on the
destination of the riders. Students in elementary, middle, and high
school in a certain neighborhood may be part of different routes with
travel times that are near each other. Transportation for a student with
special needs can often be individualized or on a different bus run than
other students. Other students may be headed for a private/parochial
school on a District bus which we are required to provide by law.
parents opt-out of transportation, and wouldn’t this save the District
Parents can and do
let the District know that their student does not need transportation. The District routes its buses based on student demographics, but also
considers ridership usage and fluctuations. Recent Commissioner
decisions encourage school districts to have an available seat only for
those students who are expected to ride the bus. SED further advises to
have an additional 10 percent of the seats available in case of
unanticipated riders, in relation to the district's own routing
calculations based on the students transported (not the posted
capacity). The Transportation Department follows and uses SED guidance
and Education Law to optimize the fleet's efficiency.
is the District mandated to travel to transport students to
private/parochial schools and other student placements?
The District is
mandated by state law to provide school transportation to all students
who reside within its boundaries to private/parochial schools within 15
miles. District All private/parochial schools the District currently
transports students who are within the 15 mile limit.
Employee Contracts: All contracts are
posted on the website.