Track Record of Fiscal Responsibility

  • The Roslyn Board of Education has approved numerous measures over an extended period of years to increase efficiencies throughout the district, thereby reducing the burden on local taxpayers.  

    There are only two aspects of the fiscal management of the schools that are directly controlled by the Board of Education: the school budget, which is the annual spending plan, and the tax levy, which is the amount of revenue that is collected in taxes after all other forms of revenue (state aid, grants, tuition fees, etc.) are taken in account. Roslyn has consistently kept increases in both the budget and the tax levy to an absolute minimum in recent years: 

    • Over eight years through the projected budget for 2016-17, the school budget increased by an average of less than 1.5 percent, even as the district introduced many educational innovations. 

    • Over the same eight-year period, the average increase in the tax levy has been 1.1 percent.  This is as low as any other district on Long Island over this period, and a record that compares favorably with most other municipal governments, as well. 

    • Unlike most other schools and municipalities, the Roslyn School District was in compliance with the 2 percent tax cap for several years before it was even mandatory. The annual limit is nominally 2 percent, though exemptions result in a variable limit every year in every district. Roslyn has been well below the tax cap limit every year since it was imposed by New York State. 

    • While local mayors and other public officials are now discussing the joint purchase of goods and services to lower costs to their taxpayers, Roslyn has been leading this effort among school districts for many years. In fact, the Roslyn School District has a very long history of collaborating with other school districts and municipalities to buy goods and services at lower cost through cooperative purchasing agreements and other initiatives. Savings in this area include: 

      • Leading the effort to provide more cost-effective busing services for children in cooperation with other Nassau County school districts, saving Roslyn taxpayers over $75,000 in 2014-15 alone.  

      • Entering into inter-municipal agreements with other school districts and municipalities to provide services and purchase equipment and supplies jointly and at lower cost to taxpayers. Some examples include sharing special education services with neighboring districts, buying bus parts cooperatively with other districts, utilizing BOCES services wherever appropriate and effective, and various shared services with the Town of North Hempstead.hilltop

      • Offering a wide range of special programs, such as the Hilltop Academy (pictured here), that attract tuition-paying students from other school districts in the area. This initiative delivers high-quality educational services while expanding our cost-saving partnerships with other school districts, thereby significantly defraying the cost of providing these services to Roslyn School District students.  All told, such programs have generated over $7 million in revenue in the seven years through 2015. 

    • The Roslyn School District has taken advantage of lower interest rates to periodically refinance its outstanding debt. The last such refinancing will save local taxpayers more than $1.5 million dollars over the life of the bonds. 

    • Roslyn’s prudent fiscal management and allocation of reserve funds has been an important factor in the district’s ability to keep the tax levy steady from year to year, as well as to schedule repayment of bond debt with significantly reduced impact on annual tax bills. 

    • The Roslyn School District, by staying well below the tax levy limit, has made it possible for district residents to qualify for a property tax refund from the state (equal to the increase in their tax bill from the previous year to the current year). 

    All of the above has been accomplished while continuing to improve the quality of education. The Board of Education has made no program-related reductions in the budget, even during the worst years of the "Great Recession". The district was the pioneer in rolling out our iPad initiative, as recognized in The New York Times in January 2011. This is just one among numerous innovative uses of modern technology in the learning experience, as the district continually assesses the skills our students need to thrive in today’s world and adapt our schools to the evolving educational landscape. To provide just one example, Project Lead the Way, a comprehensive engineering curriculum introduced at both the elementary and secondary level, is part of a strong emphasis on STEAM subjects (science, technology, engineering, art and math). There has also been a strong focus on the teaching of literacy, including an ongoing initiative with Teachers College, as well as world languages. At all levels, social/emotional learning has been a significant area of emphasis, as the district aims to provide students with a secure school environment and a well-rounded educational experience. To that end, the district has also maintained a large array of extra-curricular programs (sports and clubs). Our students continue to perform at the highest levels, as reflected in their test scores and consistent success in numerous local, regional and national competitions in a variety of disciplines. Roslyn High School has a graduation rate of virtually 100 percent, year in and year out. Finally, our students' college acceptances are the envy of many other school districts. 

    While economic conditions have improved, the Roslyn School District remains committed to bringing to the voters a disciplined, fiscally responsible budget each and every year. The voters’ strong support for the budget annually, as well as for the bond referendum in May 2014, is seen by the Board of Education and Administration as not merely an endorsement of the school district’s plans, but also as a vote of confidence in the school district’s commitment to exercising budgetary restraint and to a bright future for the community's children. 

    In February of each year, the Roslyn Board of Education begins its annual series of public meetings about the school budget for the following year. Long before voters go to the polls across the state on the third Tuesday in May, there is an extensive review and discussion of the proposed budget. District administrators review ongoing and proposed initiatives. The Board and administration undertake an analysis of projected enrollment, staffing, revenue, reserve funds and other budgetary factors. Input from community residents is welcome at all of these public sessions, which take place at Roslyn High School. Visit the Business & Finance section of the website to review budget documents, presentations and other fiscal information. 

    PHOTO:  Roslyn's Hilltop Academy is one of many educational innovations introduced in recent years, providing excellent opportunities for Roslyn students. The Academy and several other unique programs, which are open to tuition-paying students from other districts, have generated millions of dollars in revenue for the district.