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Rye School Budget Dips into Fund Balance

RYE, N.Y. - The City of Rye School District will pluck $2.5 million from the fund balance to help offset some of the revenue loss from its adherence to the 2 percent property tax cap levy. The proposed levy for 2012-13 sits just under the cap at 1.96 percent.

According to Assistant Superintendent Kathleen Ryan, $800,000 from the fund balance is for one-time capital improvements to the middle school and high school, while the remaining $1.7 million will be used to maintain programming. The projects are slated to be formally introduced at the district's Mach. 27 meeting.

Some members of the board see the district's healthy fund balance as a way to stay tax cap compliant while maintaining the majority of the district's programming, while others are hesitant to do so.

"We recognize that we need to use some of these reserves for operating needs," board member Ray Schmitt said. "I don't think anyone on the board in the community would disagree that our buildings need a substantial amount of work."

Board member Edward Fox stressed the importance of exercising temperance in the spending of the district's fund balance.

"This is not about burning reserves for the sake of burning reserves, it's about funding the program to make it tax cap compliant," Fox said.

The 2012-13 budget also proposes a 2.3 percent increase from last year's budget of $71.9 million, bringing the total number for 2012-13 to $73.5 million.

The reported increase in tax revenue for the new budget is $1.2 million, while the automatic increases in salaries, pension, benefits and insurance for staff will run the district approximately $2.1 million. The district is also reporting a $150,000 loss in other non-tax revenue in 2012-13.

In an effort to make up some of that deficit the district will cut a total of 9.9 staff members, the majority of which are clerical positions.

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