School District Proposes $198.9M Budget: Tax Increase 2.90%. No Cuts in Staff. Includes Provisional Settlement of Teachers Contract.

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. March 10, 2014:

The School district tonight proposed a 2.84% increase over this year in a $198.9 Million spending  budget that increases taxes 2.90%.

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This would mean a  $250 tax increase for a home assessed at $15,000, and about a $288 to over $300 tax increase for homes assessed higher: a 2.9% tax increase.

The budget keeps the same level of staffing in all ranks, including teaching staff.

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Asked if the budget provides for the settlement of a new contract with the White Plains Teachers, Assistant Superintendent for Business Fred Seiler told WPCNR, “We attempted to plan for what we think the settlement might be.”

Seiler said he believed there were 28 retirements in the teacher ranks, 21  who were at the highest salary ranks,  which enable the district to replace them without next year with lower paid replacements which helped keep the budget in check. He said the teachers union and district were still in the fact-finding stage, but each knew the position and the allowance for the settlement was based on that.

In his presentation, Seiler said the district is adding one additional teacher at the elementary level  to keep the class size at an average 22 students,  varying from 19 to 20, 23, 24, 25 and at the high school  and middles schools the class varies from 24 to 27. They are adding half of a full-time teacher to Dual Language science, and Project Lead the Way  and a parttime teacher to the AVID program.

The budget is compliant with the 1.46% tax levy cap decreed by the state.

The district received a $2,146,707 increase in state aid which includes  a $505,763 deferred not to be repeated, and benefits included because White Plains numbers of students receiving free and reducrsd lunch, more student enrollment and extraordinary needs (such as English as Second Lanaguage students) have increased.

Seiler said more state aid might be forthcoming when the state completes its budget April 1. Last year more aid did come White Plains way, but it was not used to cut taxes, it was spent on additional services.

Since declining 1.21% in 2010-11. The only year it declined in the last 14 years,  the budget has increased 1.o9%, 1.77%, 2.42% and 2.84%.

There was no public comments made on the budget  during the comment portion of the public hearing.

Dates for the public to be heard on the budget coming up:

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