There has been much discussion in the community about a tax increase, eliminating the APPLE program at Mamaroneck High School, the Superintendent’s salary and more.
The proposed MUFSD budget is available on the district website. The vote on this budget requires a “super majority” (60%.)
Here are two opposing viewpoints.
PRO Melanie Kraut, President PTA, Murray Avenue School
May 16th, we will be voting on a new school budget. As responsible citizens and voters, we are obligated to make sure we know the facts of the budget.
Increasing the tax levy to 2.25%: The NY State Tax Cap, set in 2012, is 2%. However, the 2% Tax Cap does not take into account a student population that, over the past 6 years, has had a net increase of 462 students.
Our per pupil spending over the past 6 years has remained relatively flat, thanks to shared staff across schools, targeted staff reductions and careful budgeting, but simple math tells us that at some point, the budget needs to exceed the 2% tax cap to maintain our per pupil spending as well as our contractual obligations to our employees.
If you are concerned about your taxes increasing, it is significant to note that tax CAP and tax RATE are different. Tax CAP is defined above. Tax RATE is based upon the Town’s latest assessments (which apply to all three relevant municipalities) and is projected to decrease by 0.94%. This means that if your home assessment goes up less than 1% or goes down, your school taxes will actually cost you less than they did last year, under this new budget.
Mamaroneck Schools Superintendent Robert Shaps will not receive a $396,000 salary. His salary is $271,922, which is not an increase from last year, and is in the middle to low end of what surrounding districts are paying their Superintendents. The 6% increase referred to is made up of $76,131 for salaries of support staff in his office and a $21,000 retention bonus for Dr. Shaps, granted by the BOE.
The APPLE program is a school within a school that serves high risk kids in our district. This program, which has been around for 40 years, is now seeing very low enrollment (9 kids this year, and roughly the same in recent years), despite the district inviting over 30 kids to participate this year. The decision to “re-design” a program that keeps kids with the same four core teachers for all four years, with additional psychological and counseling support, was made because the model has become unsustainable. Parents whose kids are in this program are very concerned, because the “re-design” makes their children mainstream, with a full time psychologist and academic liaison, which is not the same level of support as before. The district has assured these families that they will continue to closely monitor the kids and will continue to support them throughout their time at MHS.
If this budget gets voted down, we can’t pull funds from our contractual obligations to employees, so funds will be pulled from student spending. Class sizes are in jeopardy of getting bigger – not smaller. Athletics, support services and many other programs would need to be trimmed or cut because we simply wouldn’t have the money to keep them going.
AGAINST District parent who wishes to remain Anonymous
To the Editor:
Those in favor of the Proposed Budget talk about the cost of health care for employees going up but rarely mention the Superintendent’s office 6% salary increase or the salary cost for yet another Assistant Superintendent.
But most importantly, do they really know anything about APPLE? I doubt it–if one watches the January 10th School Board meeting as well as the March 21st School Board meeting, “sympathy” about the elimination of APPLE has no basis and is actually insulting!
There are many people in this community who have had to put their child into private school as their learning style or learning difference could not be supported by this district. Do they know families, who have private tutors for their students? I bet the answer to both questions is a resounding, “YES.” Do they know that there are people in this town, who don’t have the means to pay for private school or private tutors or whose kids would not accept either? Do they know that there are some “average” people living in this town? There go the property values!
Scarsdale, Edgemont, Bronxville, Harrison, Rye, Chappaqua and Pleasantville, just to name a few Westchester County school districts, all have Alternative HS Programs & some are considered the best in the County–something that many house-hunters look for.
I urge everyone to vote down this budget which only serves ton benefit some at the expense of others.