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Scarsdale BOE Set to Adopt $141.8M Budget Monday

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – The Scarsdale Board of Education is expected to approve its proposed 2012-2013 school district budget Monday night, making official the spending plan the board and district administrators began crafting in October.

While the district typically begins the budget process in January, according to Superintendent Michael McGill, the new state 2 percent tax levy cap caused the district to get an early start. Original projections stirred fears of a massive $9 million difference between a simple rollover budget – paying for the same programs and staff levels as this year – and the cap allowance. As more information became available, along with more state aid and exceptions to what counts toward the cap, it became apparent the district would not have to make drastic cuts.

The district's proposed budget – about $141.8 million – comes in under the cap, and represents a 2.4 percent increase from the current year's figure. The budget will carry a 3.4 percent rate increase for Scarsdale taxpayers and a 2.2 percent hike for those Mamaroneck residents included in the district, according to Assistant Superintendent Linda Purvis.

The tax levy differs from the tax rate. The levy is how much money the district can raise in local taxes. The cap law makes allowances for certain expenses, such as certain capital expenditures, increases in the state-mandated employer contribution rates for teacher and employee pension systems that exceed 2 percentage points, and court orders/judgments resulting from tort actions of any amount that exceeds 5 percent of a district's current levy. Because of this, Scarsdale was below the 2 percent cap even though its budget is 2.4 percent higher than last year's number.

Scarsdale's figures reflect the most recent changes made due to an increase in state aid, new projections regarding the surplus expected in this year's budget and enrollment figures that showed the need for two teaching positions at the high school and a decline at the elementary school level.

The budget will go to the voters May 15 , with a simple majority needed for passage. A cap override would have required a 60 percent approval vote.

Also on Monday's meeting agenda are the approval of the property tax report card, a resolution ratifying an agreement with the custodial union and resolutions regarding mandate relief sought from the state.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. in rooms 170-172 of the administration wing at Scarsdale High School, 2 Brewster Road, Scarsdale.

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