The Board of Education adopted the 2020-21 budget proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, May 12. The proposal will now be sent to voters for approval as part of the June 9, 2020 school budget and Board of Education member election, which will be by absentee ballot only due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Total appropriations in the 2020-21 proposed budget total $76,700,000 an increase of 2.36% over the current year. The projected tax levy increase of 3.15% is slightly below the maximum allowable increase of 3.48% under the New York State Tax Cap.
Since the preliminary budget was released in early March, the District has cut approximately $670,000 in expenses to match projected declines in anticipated revenues, including state aid, sales tax revenues, and other non-property tax revenue. The Board also elected to apply $215,000 from the debt service reserve to reduce the overall tax levy increase under the allowable limit.
Within the budget proposal, the District worked with current staffing to meet academic priorities and provide additional supports for students once schools are reopened. This includes providing dedicated intervention teachers to Siwanoy and Colonial to help with reading and math support (Hutchinson and Prospect Hill already have these positions), and creating a K-5 technology integration specialist position that will help both students and faculty to implement learning technology, build skills, and teach digital literacy and citizenship.
“Without question, this has been an incredibly difficult year by any measure, and preparation of our budget is no different,” said Dr. Cheryl H. Champ, Superintendent of Schools. “Our costs continue to rise while revenue sources are declining. As we adjusted to the new normal created by the pandemic, we sought to reallocate our resources in a way that will help our students most effectively when schools finally reopen and continue to advance the goals of our Strategic Plan. I want to thank my administrative team for their diligent work and creative thinking during these unusual times. We always seek to produce a budget that puts the needs of our students first, and I believe this proposal does just that.”
In accordance with Governor Cuomo’s executive order, the 2020-21 school budget vote and Board of Education member election will be held by absentee ballot only. All registered voters will be mailed a ballot inclusive of a postage paid return envelope. Ballots are expected to be mailed shortly. To be counted, all ballots must be properly completed and received by 5pm on Tuesday, June 9 2020. Instructions for completing the ballot will be available within the ballot mailing.
In addition to the budget proposition, voters will be asked to authorize the District to reallocate approximately $750,000 within the previously approved 2018 capital improvement bond and to elect two candidates to three-year terms on the Board of Education.
Eligible voters who are not yet registered to vote may do so by visiting the Westchester County Board of Elections website or the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles website.
The complete 2020-21 Proposed Budget is posted to the District website under the “Board of Education” tab.