North Shore board adopts proposed budget amidst hefty LIPA tax losses

North Shore board adopts proposed budget amidst hefty LIPA tax losses
Board of education President Andrea Macari speaking about the adopted budget Tuesday night. (Photo by Taylor Herzlich)

The North Shore board adopted a proposed 2024-2025 budget of $122,648,900.09, which is up 1.91% from last year’s budget, at a meeting Tuesday night.

The tentative budget is up around $2.3 million from the 2023-2024 budget of $120,354,393.60.

The draft budget includes a 3.96% tax levy increase. This increase is within the district’s tax levy cap, which is set at 5.63%. The proposed tax levy is $92,621,506.53.

North Shore had one of the highest 2023-2024 budgets among North Shore Nassau County districts and certainly one of the highest spending per pupil, with the district dishing out $47,609 per pupil in 2023-2024.

Trustee Dave Ludmar said despite a distinguished arts program, high-achieving sports teams, successful special education approach, nationally recognized science research and robotics clubs and the highest graduation rate in Nassau County, the North Shore district consistently has one of the closest budget vote margins.

“Part of it is the evaporation of LIPA’s contribution to our tax base. That is something unique to North Shore,” Ludmar said. “Our share of the tax burden as residents has gone from 53% to 84% as a result of LIPA’s reduced revenue contribution. That’s not a mirage. It’s very real and it means a lot to our taxpayers.”

A recent settlement between Nassau County and Long Island Power Authority will lessen the taxes LIPA pays for its Island Park and Glenwood Landing power stations by approximately 46.5% over the next five years.

Since the Glenwood Landing LIPA taxes contributed to the North Shore school taxes, the district is prepared to take a projected loss of $2,388,670 in the 2024-2025 budget.

On top of the LIPA tax loss, the district is facing the same spikes in medical and health insurance with which many school districts and villages across the county are contending.

Despite the district losing more than $7 million in LIPA tax revenues over the past few years, North Shore has one of the lowest proposed budget-to-budget increases across Nassau County, Superintendent Chris Zublionis said.

The district was forced to make some noticeable cuts – more than 41 staff positions were cut over the past five years to account for lost revenue, Zublionis said.

The proposed 2024-2025 budget includes some additional cuts, which will result in slightly larger class sizes, board members said.

Zubonis said the North Shore is proposing a lower tax rate than neighboring school districts, including East Williston, Farmingdale, Jericho, Levittown, Plainview, Rockville Centre, Roslyn and Syosset and so on, despite these other districts not facing the $2 million LIPA tax loss.

“Our administration is so concerned, not only about our students but also about our taxpayers, that they did everything in their power to keep the tax [levy increase] as low as possible,” Trustee Lisa Colacioppo said. “A 3.96% [tax levy increase] represents $2.5 million in cuts. We are not gaining anything. We are cutting while trying to maintain our award-winning schools.”

Some board members said they had even supported raising the tax levy closer to the tax cap in earlier budget discussions to create a buffer that the district could rely on in the future.

North Shore district residents are set to vote on the budget May 21.

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