Residents of Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Pocantico Hills will head to the polls this Tuesday to vote on 2010-2011 school district budgets and elect board members.
While the Pocantico Hills Central School District saw a surplus in this year's budget funding, the Union Free School District of the Tarrytowns has made significant cuts for the coming year.
Both districts must also vote on separate propositions involving school buses.
Three candidates vie for two trustee positions in Pocantico Hills, while two Tarrytown board members seek reelection uncontested.
The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns' annual election and 2010-2011 school year budget vote will take place on Tuesday, May 18th from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Residents of District One will cast their vote at Winfield L. Morse School, while residents of District Two will report to Washington Irving School.
The 2010-2011 budget was formally adopted by the Board of Education on April 15 and totals $63,440,147; a 1.48 percent increase over the 2009-2010 budget. The adopted budget calls for the closing of Tappan Hill Elementary School, which represents a cost savings of $670,000. Other proposed measures include many instructional and support staff layoffs, cutting some foreign language and summer programs and asking for a $30-$50 contribution for sports in the middle school and high school.
Overall the budget results in a .10 percent tax increase for Tarrytown residents and 6.62 percent increase for residents of Sleepy Hollow. Our review of the final budget can be found here.
In addition, voters will have the option of approving new bus guidelines for the coming year. Specifically, the board has recommended third-graders who live up to half a mile from school be ineligible to take a bus. Currently, these students have access to buses if they live within three-tenths of a mile of their schools. According to Superintendent Howard Smith, if approved, this proposition will save the district $100,000 annually.
As we have previously reported, there has been much controversy over the last few months regarding the severe budget cuts and proposed monetary realignments. Throughout the process, Smith and board trustees have slashed expenditures from the original budget draft, giving voters little choice but to approve the adopted version. If rejected, the adopted budget will be implemented as the contingency budget, unless the board makes further alterations and calls for another vote down the road.
Voters may also opt to reelect current board vice president Paul Rode and trustee Vincent Nadile for another three-year term. Both of their current terms expire on June 30, 2010.
A full budget summary can be found here.
Pocantico Hills Central School District
Residents of the Pocantico Hills Central School District must report to the school library between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18th to vote on the 2010-2011 school budget, a separate proposal to purchase two replacement school buses and elect two new trustees for the Board of Education.
The school budget, which was adopted on April 12, may be viewed in its entirety here. The proposed budget adds up to a total of $25,973,765, 10.35 percent more than the 2009-2010 budget. Despite the increase, the board suggested a tax decrease of 8.03 percent in Greenburgh and 2.05 percent in Mount Pleasant would result, due to a recent surge in the value of the district's commercial property.
As we previously reported, a monetary transfer to the tax certiorari reserve in the amount of $850,000 has been proposed in order to tackle the 70 plus outstanding tax certiorari claims filed against the district.
Other highlights of the budget include application to receive membership into the Tri-State Consortium, review of all curricula, the establishment of onsite courses for faculty and an increase of $47,305 in the areas of community recreation, summer day camp and the after-school program combined.
According to a memo from district interim superintendent/assistant superintendent Jay Scott-Friedman, the budget "initiates an educational vision that will be implemented over the next three to five years."
In addition to the budget, voters will be able to approve or reject a proposition calling for the acquisition of two new school buses to replace older ones. The first, a 20-passenger school bus, is said not to exceed $38,000, while the second, a 65-passenger school bus, will not cost more than $107,000—a $145,000 total.
Finally, two of the district's three trustee positions are expiring at the end of June 2010. Three new candidates will be up to fill the slots: Theodore M. Sabety of Pleasantville, Frederic P. Rickles of Sleepy Hollow and Emily Segal of Valhalla. Once elected, the two trustees will serve three-year terms, beginning July 1, 2010 and ending June 30, 2013.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that the district would charge for sports, the fee is optional. Shortfalls in sports funding would largely be made up through fundraising efforts and booster clubs.