On April 18, at the Mamaroneck Board of Education meeting, the Board unanimously adopted the 2017-2018 Proposed Mamaroneck School District Budget, which will be brought forth to the community for a vote on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.
In Mamaroneck, they continually strive to better their practices, implementing new, emerging ways to improve teaching and learning and produce results. The 2017-2018 Proposed Budget continues to support the district’s multi-year aspirational “Stretch Goals.” Building on the robust network infrastructure that they have constructed in recent years, technology continues to enhance learning in the most innovative ways. In addition to maintaining current class size guidelines in the neighborhood schools, budget highlights include:
• Partnership with Yale University’s Center for Emotional Intelligence to pilot an elementary social and emotional intelligence framework
• Targeted instruction, counseling, monitoring and advocacy to prevent risk of academic failure
• Addition of a full-time psychologist and academic liaison at Mamaroneck High School to support re-design of the APPLE program and new initiatives to meet the needs of at-risk high school students
• Continued support for a wide array of diverse elective experiences and expansion of high school elective pathway course sequences in design, engineering, culinary arts, computer science
• Hands-on science curriculum resources and professional development around Next Generation Science Standards
• Classroom library resources to support the District Literacy Stretch Goal that all children read on grade level by third grade
• Additional staffing resources to address enrollment trends, including addition of staff at MHS and Chatsworth, and maintenance of two contingency positions to address further growth
• Inter-school elementary collaborative academic projects to support Authentic Interaction Stretch Goal
• Introduction of elementary robotics program in conjunction with the Mamaroneck Schools Foundation; further develop Grades 2-12 computer science instruction
• Funding to expand collaboration with Sheldrake
In six years (from 2012-2018), total district enrollment will have grown by a projected 462 students, yet the per-pupil expenditures have remained relatively flat. By creating efficiencies -- such as shared staff across schools and targeted staff reductions -- and finding new ways of doing things, they have been able to limit the District’s annual tax levy growth to an average of 1.68% during this six year period and have remained under the State’s tax levy cap. This has been quite a challenge, given that employee contractual obligations (salaries and/or benefits, including healthcare and State-mandated retirement system contributions) have historically risen at a rate that far exceeds the allowable tax levy increase. The proposed budget includes an increase of more than $2 million in projected employee health benefit contributions, following several years of significant savings from moving to a self-paid healthcare plan.
Despite these challenges, they have greatly enhanced the overall student experience. Among the additions are a District Dual Language elementary program (moving closer to the goal of a fully-developed K-5 program), integrated elementary and middle school capstone projects, and continued expansion/modernization of course offerings at all levels.
While enrollment has grown approximately 9% over the past six years, per pupil expenditures have remained flat due, in part, to aligning resources and staffing to enrollment trends.
“For many years, we have shown prudent budgeting and created efficiencies, working to ensure that resources are directly aligned with our district goals. We continue to do that this year, furthering efficiencies in some areas, while presenting a bold plan that requires a modest increase beyond the State’s allowable tax levy cap.
It is our responsibility to invest in sound practices, develop relevant programs and improve teaching and learning to ensure that we graduate students who are prepared to lead productive lives and contribute to the broader world,” said Dr. Robert I. Shaps, Superintendent of Schools.
Despite rising enrollment during the five years the tax levy cap has been in place and increased contractual obligations, the district consistently put forth budgets that were under the allowable levy limit. In contrast to many area districts, they have not made a practice of increasing the tax levy as much as the cap would allow. The Board’s approach has saved taxpayers a total of nearly $14 million dollars of additional lax levy.
This year they are asking voters to approve a budget with a tax levy that goes over the cap. Although the budget-to-budget increase is 1.46%, the resulting tax levy is 2.25%. When a school district proposes a budget that will result in a tax levy that exceeds the cap, the State requires a 60% voter approval to pass the budget.
Based upon the Town’s latest assessments, the tax rate is projected to decrease by 0.94% from 2016-2017. Thus, school taxes will likely go up only if a home assessment is going up; if one’s home assessment is going up less than 1 % or going down, then one’s school taxes are expected to go down.
The 2017-2018 Proposed Budget is $135,103,791: The Budget-to-Budget increase: 1.46% from 2016-2017: and Proposed Tax Levy Increase: 2.25% from 2016-2017 Budget (Allowable Tax Levy Increase Based on Cap: 1.04%)
The Community Budget Vote is May 16 at a local Elementary School from 7 am - 9 pm.
Visit the 2017-18 Budget Section of the District website for voting requirements, absentee ballots, budget meeting schedule and more detailed budget information.