Athletic Cuts, Bigger Class Sizes Loom After Voters Reject Long Island School Levy Increases

Teachers and parents in two Long Island school districts are bracing for major budget cuts after voters rejected a pair of tax levy increases.

Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma.

Sachem High School North in Lake Ronkonkoma.

Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

In Suffolk County, both the Sachem Central School District and the West Babylon School District fell short of the 60-percent supermajorities that were needed as the proposed budgets exceeded the tax cap.

Final vote tallies Wednesday, May 22, showed 56-percent of voters backed West Babylon’s levy increase, while just 50.3-percent supported Sachem’s.

Prior to Tuesday’s vote, the Sachem Central School District said the levy increase was needed to “preserve the strong educational, co-curricular, and health and safety programs established in recent years.”

Voters in both districts were asked to approve a nearly 5-percent levy increase, which would work out to approximately $27 more per month, officials said.

The Sachem school district is now pushing for a heavily scaled-down, 1.92-percent levy increase which would raise property taxes by $11 per month. It would eliminate all middle school sports and all JV sports at both high schools and cut all elementary school clubs.

If approved, it would also:

  • Increase class size districtwide
  • Eliminate five social worker positions
  • Eliminate the partnership with Northwell Health
  • Reduce funding for all secondary clubs, including marching band, robotics, and DECA, by 50 percent
  • Reduce the number of school librarians
  • Limit high school plays and musicals to one per building

The West Babylon School District is proposing a similar scaled-down budget that would also eliminate all secondary athletic programs, reduce full-day kindergarten to half-day, and reduce art, music, and technology programs, among other measures.

Voting on the scaled-down levy increases will take place on Tuesday, June 18. 

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