White Plains Voters Pass $226,588,508 Budget, 949 to 159. Approve $24 MILLION New Capital Reserve for Future AND $6.4 MILLION IN INFRASTRUCTURE FROM FORMER RESERVE FUND

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WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. May 21, 2019 UPDATED 12 mIDNIGHT.:

White Plains voters voted to approve the school budget by 85% today. The following video shows the moment when the final returns came in:

Michelle Schoenfeld, Clerk to the Board of Education emerged at 9:40 PM with the final results from Battle Hill and Church Street to complete the returns: recorded electronically and displayed on a screen, instead of the traditional chalk on the blackboard. WPCNR  VIDEO

Dr. Joseph Ricca Superintendent of Schools expressed his thanks to the voters. WPCNR VIDEO
Budget vote is displayed in the first two columns on the left. The votes for proposition 1 to spend $6.4 Million on infrastructure from the current Capital Reserve are in columns 3 and 4. The vote for Proposition 2, establishing a new $24 Million Capital Reserve are in columns 5 and 6. the last two columns are the votes for Sheryl Brady and Charlie Norris who ran unopposed for positions on the School Board.

As the school district explained in a previous briefing on the budget, Proposition 1, approved by a 994 to 106 plurality, does this:

Proposition #1 approves up to $6.4 million in expenditures for school improvement projects throughout the district, from the already existing 2016 Capital Reserve Fund. 

(In 2018, the voters in White Plains approved a $10,000,000 expenditure out of the reserve fund created in 2016.) By WPCNR rough estimate the first Reserve Fund raised approximately 16 Million in its three year existance, spending $10 million last year, and another $6.4 million depleting the leftover cash was approved for the 2019-20 budget in Tuesday’s vote.

Proposition #2 approved by a 954 to 116 margin, approves establishment of a new 2019 Capital Reserve Fund of up to $25 million over a period of 10 years, to replace the 2016 Fund which will be depleted.  Monies will be accrued through annual appropriation of unexpended funds and other legally available funds.  No additional taxes will be incurred by either of these propositions.  

The newly approved budget increases taxes by 3.44%, and is under the 2% property tax cap. Ann Vaccaro-Teich, Assistant Superintendent for Business said the budget was the result of good planning, cooperation, and hard work.

An unofficial total of 1,108 registered voters voted. There are 32,000 registered voters in White Plains, which means that 3.4% of voters eligible to vote voted. In 2017, 939 voters voted in the school budget election, meaning that voter participation increased 18% year to year.

This is Dr. Ricca’s second proposed budget the voters have passed. The first Ricca budget, the current 2018-19 budget , increased spending by 2.1 %. In the previous year, 2017-18, ending in June,  the budget was increased 2.58%. Though the school district was allowed under the tax cap to raise the budget 3% in Dr. Ricca’s first year , the Board and Dr. Ricca held the increase to 2.1%.

Dr. Ricca’s second budget, passed Tuesday is up 3.66% from the $218.6 Million budget of 2018-19. However an influx of over $2 Million in state aid is behind that 3.66% increase in expenditure. Without the additional state aid you would have a budget of 224.6 Million, or an increase of 2.7% year to year.

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