SCARSDALE, N.Y. – After last year’s Scarsdale School District budget was initially voted down, Scarsdale administrators have been hard at work diligently preparing this year’s budget in advance of May’s decision.
The administration has presented its first draft of the 2014-15 schools budget to the Board of Education, which comes in at just under $149 million, a 3.36 percent increase from last year, marking a 4.4 percent tax rate increase.
Nearly $279,000 from the proposed budget will need to be cut if the district doesn't want to risk exceeding the cap, which would force them to achieve a 60 percent approval rate from voters.
The proposed budget would add nine additional teachers at the high school, and several to the elementary and middle school, which will help to reduce the student-to-teacher ratio, which has risen slightly in recent years as enrollment swelled. The district tries to keep class sizes in the low to mid 20s. the
An additional gym teacher was considered early in the budget process, but that idea has since been scrapped.
Escalating unfunded mandates, a reoccurring issue that continues to plague both school and municipal budgets, will account for nearly $3 million of the budget. Other expenses include roof repairs ($325,000), carpeting at the high school ($130,000) and security upgrades at Greenacres Elementary school ($150,000).
“I know there’s nothing we can do about insurance and benefits, but it’s becoming a real problem, and we’re not seeing what we’re paying for,” Dan Morse, who has two children, said. “At the end of the day, I think it’s important that we spend a little more on our schools. We live in Scarsdale for any number of reasons, the school district is definitely one of them, though.”
According to Superintendent Michael McGill and Board of Education President Suzanne Seiden, “On March 10, the Board will present a preliminary proposed budget for community reaction. Over the next six successive weeks, the trustees will solicit public reaction before adopting on April 22 a final proposal for the May 20 budget vote.”