IRVINGTON, N.Y. -- Brad Hunt is an Irvington resident. Send your own letter to the editor to The Tarrytown Daily Voice at email@example.com .
We have all the signs of spring! Sure as with April showers come May flowers, baseball and softball games have started up in our community, and a few have unfortunately chosen to begin arbitrarily and publicly attacking another proposed Irvington School District budget.
This year, the Irvington School Board has proposed a budget that equates to a 4.85 percent tax rate increase that exceeds the artificially derived 2 percent state tax levy cap and will require 60 percent of voters to approve. The average Irvington taxpayer’s cost to pass this budget is $739 per year – or only $2 a day.
Why must the tax cap be exceeded this year? Simply put, due to unfunded and underfunded state-mandated costs beyond the board’s and school district’s control: about $1.7 million worth. These costs alone exceed the tax cap, and primarily include state-determined pension contributions, rising health insurance costs and tax refund settlements that must be paid to businesses.
The proposed school budget ensures our schools will maintain high levels of academic and extra-curricular opportunities for our children this year and into the future. If we don’t vote to go over the cap, the district would have to cut:
- 2 elementary school teachers
- All modified (seventh- and eighth-grade sports)
- All junior varsity sports
- 75 percent of co-curricular clubs
- Bus monitors
- Kindergarten and first grade aides
- And even more.
The board has also stated publicly upon several occasions that its goal is to avoid exceeding the cap next year, a realistic possibility only if our community supports the budget this year.
These are the facts about recent budgets: Over the last five years, the average annual school budget increase has been 1.31 percent and the number of district employees has been reduced by 27 full time positions. Clerical and custodial employees have not received a salary increase in the past two years, administrators in the past three, and teachers in the past four. This has resulted in some of the lowest school tax rate increases in Westchester over these last several years.
Despite numerous fiscal challenges affecting us all, we Irvingtonians have continued to loudly and clearly voice our support for our community and its schools by strongly endorsing small class sizes, broad academic choices and meaningful extra-curricular activities for all of our students.
It is more important than ever that we turn out and vote in support of the proposed budget. Please vote YES on May 21 for the school district budget.
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