EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Eastchester Superintendent Walter Moran has proposed a preliminary $76.9 million budget, representing a 3.21 percent tax levy increase from the current budget.
Like countless other school districts, Eastchester continues to be handcuffed by escalating mandates, which include retirement, insurance and other benefits. Enrollment is also expected to increase in the coming years, which is further stretching the district’s funds.
According to Moran, the district will spend an additional $400,000 each on teacher retirement and health insurance costs. Social security will account for $71,000 of the budget with workers compensation eating another $30,000, leading to more than a $900,000 increase in year-to-year expenditures.
“These are things that we are required to do,” he said. “There are literally hundreds of pages of mandates that come straight from our budget.”
The district reduced spending by more than $1 million in 2012 and nearly $675,000 last year. In the past four years, more than 60 positions have been eliminated district-wide in an effort to reduce costs.
The proposed budget would cut an additional 10 positions, including seven teachers and three teaching assistants.
“When a cut is made, of a position, the individual impacted is not always the person who is in that position,” Moran said. “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.
You can watch the entire budget presentation above. What are your thoughts on the schools budget? Continue the conversation in the comments section.