PORT CHESTER, N.Y. – Residents will vote Tuesday, May 20, on the Port Chester-Rye School District 2014-15 budget, which adds teachers and programs and reduces class sizes at the middle school.
The $88.42 million spending plan, which complies with the state-mandated cap on the tax levy, got a shot in the arm with an additional $1.006 million in state aid, bringing its total to $2.39 million. This allowed the district to do the following:
- Add one special education teacher at King Street School
- Add one school psychologist at John F. Kennedy School
- Add home language arts teachers at Edison and Park Avenue schools
- Add another 7th Grade Academy and foreign language class at the middle school
- Reduce class sizes at the middle school
- Create an intel science research program and reinstate PSTA testing opportunities at the high school
- Add clubs and department supervisors at the high school
- Add more course offerings in place of study halls
- Add girls and boys swimming teams at the high school
“That additional money has been incorporated into our proposed budget to both restore programs previously lost due to shrinking funding, and to accommodate increased enrollment,” according to the school district’s “Spotlight” newsletter.
The district’s state and federal aid combined accounts for 22.25 percent of its revenue. The homeowners tax levy accounts for 30.07 percent and the commercial tax levy accounts for 30.52 percent. Local sources and STAR make up the remainder.
“Changes in the tax base this year mean that the homeowners’ share of the tax levy decreases from the current 33 percent to 30 percent for next year, while commercial properties’ share of the levy increases from 28 percent to 31 percent,” according to the school newsletter. “As a result, the school taxes paid by most residents under the proposed budget will decline.”
Overall spending would increase 3.8 percent, or $3.2 million and the tax levy -- the total amount of money the district collects in property taxes – would go up 3.89 percent.
Property owners can determine their 2014-2015 school tax rate by plugging their property's assessed value into a calculator on the district website.
Also on the ballot will be four candidates vying for two open seats. The two incumbents, Anne Capeci and Robert Johnson face challenges by Richard Cuddy and Edward Del Monte Jr. All four participated in a League of Women Voters candidate forum in early May.
Voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Port Chester Middle School gym.