School District Ups Budget $1.2 Million to $205.8 Million. Does Not Cut Tax Increase. Will Add Teachers for Pre-k, Special Ed, Bilingual Education, Repair parking lots, paths and curbs. Says School Aid Spent on New Personnel is Safe for Another Year. Superintendents,Managers and Administrators Given Pay Increases.



Fred Seiler, Assistant Superintendent for Business for the White Plains City School District announced last night at the monthly Board of Education meeting, that after preliminary review, the School District is raising the 2015-16 School Budget $1.2 Million from the previous $204.6 Million to $205.8 Million.

The previously proposed tax rate of $613 per thousand dollars of assessed valuation remains the same.

Seiler said after preliminary discussions the district is investing what he calculated as $1.2 Million as follows: About $500,000 of foundation aid that will be used for “more space needs,” $250,000 into Special Education Out of District (because the numbers of special ed students placed out of district are growing) in hiring new teachers (the number of new hires was not specified but might translate into 2 full-time teachers that WPCNR calculates as $100,000 each including benefits).

Seiler also said the Superintendent felt an additional $150,000  should be spent on bilingual education that might mean 2 teachers by WPCNR calculation, plus “a portion” of the new aid to cover new fees and increases required by the Affordable Health Care Act.

Finally of the new aid, Seiler said $179,000 would go into the repair of district parking lots, sidewalks, driveways and curbs that have received “a significant amount of damage this winter.” Mr. Seiler said Frank Stefanelli, the District Facilities and Operations Manager  characterized  the district road and sidewalks as having a “tough winter. ” 

Seiler also said some investments would be made into high school/middle school locker rooms, cafeteria tables, security cameras, and other improvements.

He said spending would go up 2.95% the tax levy 2.1% and the tax rate 2.25% ($600 to $613).

In a separate action, the district approved a new pay agreement for Superintendent Cabinet members and Managerial and Confidential Staff (about a dozen persons)  without stating details publicly. WPCNR is working on acquiring those new salary levels.

Salary Increases for Administration

According to the City School District, Cabinet Members Scott Persampieri, Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Fred Seiler, Assistant Superintendent for Business will receive a 2% increase, effective 7/1/15.

The Board had previously approved a 3% increase for Cabinet Member Jessica O’Donovan, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, effective 7/1/15.

Managerial & Confidential staff members will receive a 1.5% increase, effective 7/1/14, and a  2% increase, effective 7/1/15.

An agreement with the Administrators & Supervisors Association will be on the next Board agenda for approval. However, since the contract has not been approved yet, it is not know what their increases will be.

A more detailed presentation on the budget is coming up on May 19.

The $613 per thousand tax rate raises the school tax on a $650,000 White Plains Home from $9,900 in 2015 to $10,099 –a $200 increase. (That is calculated with a STAR Exemption of $1,585 deducted from the Assessed value. The increase is 2.25%, again ¾ a percentage point above inflation.

It is unclear whether the new aid has to be spent or can be used to lower the tax rate, had the school district chose to do so.

Mr. Seiler told WPCNR last night that the total school aid this year was $20,174,000 up from $15,548,000 this year. This is an increase of $4,626,000. The printouts from the State Education Department state the White Plains school district aid this year is $22,618,997. WPCNR hopes to find out why there is a discrepancy between the state figure and the district figure.

Given the new budget figure increase, if the school district continues to raise the budget 3% a year, future budgets will look like this:

2015-16: $205.8 Million

2016-17: $212 Million

2017-18: $218.4 Million

2018-19: $224.6  Million

2019-20: $231.3  Million

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