Hempstead superintendent eyes $215M budget, no tax increase

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HEMPSTEAD -

Hempstead's school board debated a new budget Thursday night as the embattled district faces concerns about cost and attention from the state.

Superintendent Regina Armstrong says the proposed $215 million budget for the upcoming year carries no increase for taxpayers, but she is also asking those same taxpayers to approve a separate bond that aims to replace one of the district's schools.

Board President Maribel Toure says there are too many unanswered questions.

"We are scheduling $80,000 for a treasurer, when we are paying $20,000," she says. "Where is the $60,000 extra?"

Armstrong says she's not asking the board to approve a final budget -- just the price tag.

"This is not out to the voters yet," she says. "The community will be able to give us feedback, and we'll make adjustments as we go along. The only thing I would like is the board to agree to tonight is that the board will not exceed the $215 million."

The district's state appointed adviser Jack Bierwith told the board the plan may not be perfect but it's moving in the right direction.

The school board is scheduled to discuss the budget again on Monday. It must hold a budget hearing on May 8, and the public will have a chance to weigh in on May 15.

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