Property tax cap strains school budget in Centereach

The much-heralded property tax cap may take its toll in Centereach, where school officials are projecting a $10.3 million budget gap for the Middle Country

CENTEREACH - The much-heralded property tax cap may take its toll in Centereach, where school officials are projecting a $10.3 million budget gap for the Middle Country Central School District.

School officials say the budget crunch means the district may have to cut programs that affect students from pre-K to high school.

"Our tax-levy scenarios right now will change what schooling looks like in Middle Country. I think it will mean reducing kindergarten to half-day. It may cause us to eliminate our pre-school program," says Superintendent Roberta Gerold. At a public meeting tonight, school officials said everything is on the table for possible eliminations, including pre-school programs, middle and high school sports, and after-school activities. Many parents spoke up to voice their concerns, saying they don't want to see any programs slashed but simply don't have the money to shell out for higher property taxes. The district must adopt a budget to be voted on by taxpayers in May.

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