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Letter: Vote 'No' On Eastchester School Budget

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Send your letters to the editor to eastchester@dailyvoice.com. Photo Credit: File

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Eastchester Daily Voice accepts signed letters to the editor. Send signed letters to eastchester@dailyvoice.com .

To the editor:

Are you happy New York State has a cap on school increases of 2 percent? You should be! It has allowed us to contain costs and continue to provide our students with an excellent education.

However, when your school district can fund its entire operating budget, and add TEN new staff positions, all while DECREASING your tax levy, wouldn’t you be happier? The answer should still be yes! This year, the Eastchester School District can do just that.

Thanks to an increase in state aid and a reduction in required contributions to the state retirement systems, the Eastchester School District can fund its entire operating budget and HIRE ADDITIONAL TEACHERS, all while DECREASING the tax levy by 1.27 percent (year over year).

However, that will only happen if you vote NO on the Eastchester School District Budget Tuesday.

Right now, the Eastchester School District needs to fund $2 million worth of capital improvements. These improvements are meant to maintain the school facilities by working on the roof and pointing the bricks for the older section of the Waverly School building and removing oil tanks from three schools. These projects need to be done, and doing them now will likely be cheaper than waiting to do them later.

However, the normal way that these projects would be funded is through a small maintenance bond referendum. By using a bond referendum, the Eastchester School District could spread the $2 million cost across the 15-year lifespan of the maintenance, in a low interest-rate environment, rather than paying for it all at once.

Historically, the voters always accept a maintenance bond when the need is clear.

If you vote YES, you’ll get the EXACT SAME OPERATING BUDGET, but you are telling the Board of Education you are unwilling to fund $2 million in capital improvements all in one year.

Unfortunately, a majority of the Eastchester Board of Education voted to take advantage of this year’s extremely low tax cap limit of 0.12 percent by putting forth a budget that pays for the entire $2 million now, rather than over the next 15 years as it would be under a bond.

If you want to have the SAME operating budget, the SAME new teachers, but a LOWER tax burden, you can force the Eastchester School District to put up a Bond Referendum to fund this capital project by voting NO on the budget Tuesday. Let’s pay for our school facilities as they are used, NOT up front because it is “convenient.”

Our voters have never let us down on a maintenance bond in the past, and I am confident they will continue to support our efforts going forward given the facts.

Thank You,

Vito Catania, EUFSD Trustee

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