EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – The Eastchester Board of Education has adopted a $77.4 million budget that is set for public vote next month.
The $77,375,997 budget is a $1,649,317 budget-to-budget increase, marking a 3.21 percent tax levy increase. The public will have the opportunity to cast their vote on Tuesday, May 20 at the high school.
The school district continues to be plagued by escalating unfunded mandates, which include retirement, insurance and other benefits.
According to Superintendent Walter Moran, the district will spend an additional $400,000 each on teacher retirement and health insurance costs. Meanwhile, social security and worker’s compensation will cost the district an additional $100,000 in year-to-year expenditures.
In total, 80 percent of the budget will account for payroll and benefits.
“These are things that we are required to do,” he said about the budget process. “There are literally hundreds of pages of mandates that come straight from our budget.”
As part of the budget, five full-time teaching positions will be eliminated, and there will be a reduction in the buildings, central office and athletics budgets. A custodial and technology support position will be added, and in an effort to keep up with the new state education standards, a series of STEM courses will be introduced at the middle school.
“When a cut is made, of a position, the individual impacted is not always the person who is in that position,” Moran said when proposing his budget. “It’s by seniority, but often it isn’t a matter of terminating a position, but more about taking a section here and a section there from certain programs.”
The Board of Education and Moran will continue to adjust the budget in advance of the May 20 vote. If the budget initially fails, there will be a second vote with an amended budget. If the second budget fails, the tax levy increase will be zero, but the district will have to make nearly $3.5 million in additional reductions.
According to the district, if the second budget fails, non-mandated programs such as sports and extracurricular activities will be eliminated, and as many 30 positions district-wide would need to be cut.