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FROM THE HEART • Budget Issue 2016

Budget Issue Mount Pleasant — The Heart of Westchester County


May 17

7 a.m. – 9 p.m. WESTLAKE HIGH SCHOOL GYMNASIUM 825 Westlake Drive Thornwood

Meet the BOE Candidates Monday, May 9 7:30 p.m. Westlake library

Celia Cannata

Theresa Fowler

Christopher Pinchiaroli

Four candidates are running for two open seats on the school board. Moderated by the League of Women Voters

Volume 15, Issue 4

Incentive helps to reduce bottom line The 2016-17 budget is a collaborative effort crafted over months of careful planning and community conversations. The 2016-17 budget is presented on the following pages and in its entirety with supporting information online at mtplcsd.org.

“How can the Mount Pleasant school district craft a budget that pursues higher student learning and achievement, address aging and deteriorating infrastructure and comply with the tax cap?” This essential question guided this year’s budget work. Included in this year’s budget

The 2016-17 budget looks carefully at our students and what they require as young people in the 21st century. This budget supports current academic programs and support services that are provided in our schools. It maintains class size ranges, transportation, increases support to the area of special education, promotes the ongoing programs in the arts and athletics, proposes updates to current technology and supports professional development for staff to meet the requirements of state standards in math and ELA.

The 2016-17 budget supports state mandates including the Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) for teacher evaluation, as well as allocates funds to the capital line of the budget that will begin to address the district’s physical plant. Capital projects include the elevator at the Westlake campus and HVAC and heating systems at Columbus Elementary where economies of scale are being taken as a new boiler system is installed. For more details, I encourage you to review the presentations of both the non-instructional and instructional budgets that are available online.

Vincent Graci

The Mount Pleasant Central School District Newsletter

Lowered annual spending

The 2016-17 budget reflects a reduction in annual spending. Through a practice of zero-based budgeting, we look at past and current spending and plan for what is needed to provide excellent educational opportunities for students in Mount Pleasant. A retirement incentive collaboratively developed with the Mount Pleasant Teachers Association aided the reduction of high-cost spending in salaries and benefits that comprise the majority of the budget.

By the Numbers 2016-17 Budget...........$58,931,394 2015-16 Budget............$59,127,000 Budget-to-Budget............ (195,606) Tax Levy Increase...................2.64% Est. Tax Rate Increase............3.92% * * Tax rate will be set by the town in August, 2016

Below the cap

The “cap” is a complex calculation that is often misrepresented in the media and difficult to understand. Each district’s cap calculation changes each year based on state-determined factors that allow for flexibility in the tax levy. School districts are able to apply a “growth factor,” based on growth in the community, to the cap calculation and to exclude items such as capital projects and debt service.

This year, Mount Pleasant has a larger growth factor as part of its cap calculation. In addition, this year’s CPI is 0.12 percent. After the growth factor and CPI are inserted into the calculation and the exemptions removed, the district’s tax levy cap is 3.41 percent. The infusion of additional state aid from the GEA allowed the district to reduce the tax rate increase to under four percent.

With careful fiscal and pedagogical planning, the 2016-17 budget allows the district to continue to meet all of its academic goals and build comprehensive, motivating and academically challenging programs for all learners. As a community we continue to educate our children for their future to ensure our collective success. Thank you for your ongoing support and for all that you do for the students in Mount Pleasant. Sincerely,

Susan Guiney, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools

FROM THE HEART • Budget Issue 2016

School Board Candidates

Celia Cannata Thornwood

Vincent Graci Valhalla

Christopher Pinchiaroli Valhalla

Family: Husband Anthony; two children (WHS and CES)

Family: Husband, David; two children (WHS grads)

Family: Wife, Lina; two children (WMS and CES)

Family: Wife Mary, four children (WHS and WMS)

Community involvement: PTA member and volunteer at school events; class mother; committee member for Director of Special Education, and Director of Pupil Personnel Services search

Community Involvement: School board 2009-present; vice president ’10/11; president ’11/12; audit committee; one of founding members of the Town of Mount Pleasant Residence Committee; PTA and Westlake Athletic Club member

Community involvement: FC Mt. Pleasant United Soccer coach and board member; Sherman Park Little League coach; former assistant AYSO coach; past member Citizens Budget Advisory Committee

Community involvement: School board member since 2007; coach or assistant coach for Mt. Pleasant AYSO soccer from 2003-2009

Occupation: Inpatient billing manager for a children’s nursing home

Why are you running? I would like to ensure the Mount Pleasant school district is doing its utmost to engage all stakeholders to promote a greater sense of dialogue, transparency and collaboration within our school district and the community at large. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Communication, collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders of MPCSD • Continuum of education for all children – from the gifted and talented programs to special education • Infrastructure budgetary issues How would you like to see the district address those challenges? The one solution to address all three issues is improved communication amongst the parents, the community, anyone who has a vested interest in our school system. All stakeholders will have a greater appreciation if issues are communicated within our school district.


Theresa Fowler Hawthorne

The following candidates are running for two open seats on the Board of Education. The three-year terms begin July 1, 2016.

Occupation: Royal Coach bus driver

Why are you running? I want to see the best education that we, as a district, can provide for our children, both in general/special education, while being fiscally responsible to our community. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Parental/community trust • Financial challenges (state aid, mandates, facilities, contractual agreements) • Maintaining programs for all students How would you like to see the district address those challenges? Effective and timely communication is the key to bringing understanding and respect to all involved. The budget process presently in effect is proving we can stay within the cap and still maintain what is best for students. A decision has to be made to put through a bond that will update our school facilities for the benefit of our students while maintaining the value of our homes.

Occupation: Criminal defense attorney currently at The Legal Aid Society handling criminal and child custody cases

Why are you running? I would like to help build trust with the community, while advocating for the education that all our children deserve. I am willing to put in the time and effort to help make this already excellent school district even better. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • School infrastructure • Continue integrating the common core so that it enhances learning and does not confuse children or cause them undue stress • Special education How would you like to see the district address those challenges? All challenges must be addressed in the most financially prudent way. Certain issues like the school infrastructure, require careful consideration. The district must work hard to build community-wide support for any future bond. The success of our district is a reflection of the resident’s commitment to the district.

Occupation: In-house lawyer for a NYC insurance company focused on employment law and litigation

Why are you running? I have had the honor to serve on a board that has tried hard to give all of our students an enriching and first-class education, while balancing the requirement to be fiscally responsible. I want to continue this work. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Aging/outdated infrastructure that does not adequately support current requirements and likely future growth • Moving the needle on student accomplishment • Limited sources of funds How would you like to see the district address those challenges? I want to see the community support a bond that will adequately fund required repairs and improvements; the continuation of our movement toward the International Baccalaureate program at the middle and high schools and the ongoing review of curriculum and teaching practices; trying to be as efficient, effective, and as creative as possible with the limited funds.

Responses have been edited. For complete candidate questionnaires and additional budget information, visit mtplcsd.org

2015-16 Budget


2016-17 Budget Increase Adopted Budget (Decrease)



Est. Tax Rate Increase*

Est. Total Tax Rate per $1,000

Est. $ Increase per mo. / year**



$31.67 / $380.05

* Actual tax rate is set by the town in August, 2016. ** Based on average assessment of $8,300.

RevenueSources 2015-16 Budget

ExpenditureSummary 2016-17 Budget

% Change

2015-16 Budget




State Aid




Other Revenue Sources





Appropriated Fund Balance








Property Tax Levy

Total Revenue

Revenue Explained — Property Tax Levy is the portion of the budget funded by taxpayers. The tax cap limits the levy increase to 3.41%. State Aid: The final state budget helped us out with the restoration of GEA, which was used to reduce the tax rate. Other Revenue: Primarily composed of sales tax and out-of-district tuition charges, the latter is expected to decrease substantially due to decreased enrollment of students from other districts. Appropriated Fund Balance: Monies in the fund balance will be used to make repairs and upgrades to infrastructure.

The 2016-17 budget includes: Facilities, safety and security: • Increased trained security presence and cameras • Door and door hardware replacement • Patches to roof leaks, sidewalks, driveways, masonry stair repairs and lighting • Equal accessibility to the fitness room at WHS Ongoing programs: • Science Research program • International Baccalaureate (IB) Middle Years Program • Interscholastic athletics • Extracurricular activities and the arts • Professional development for staff Supervision • Supervisor of Elementary Special Education position Capital projects • Replacement of the Westlake elevator • Heating, ventilation and cooling system and controls at Columbus Elementary

General Support Instruction

Debt Service/Transfers TOTAL BUDGET

2016-17 Budget

% Change













5,819,575 59,127,000

FROM THE HEART • Budget Issue 2016

Budget Overview

4,408,318 -24.30% 58,931,394


Expenditures Explained: The increases in the General Support and Instruction categories are for contractual salary increases and the addition of staff to meet program requirements and strategic goals. Transportation service has not been changed. Benefits: Pension generated with retirements and lower state-defined contribution rates have been offset by increases in the cost of contractual health insurance costs. Debt Service remains flat. Transfers represent a decrease of $1.4 million.

Q&AYou asked … Q: How much of the district’s infrastructure work can be remedied through the annual budgets? A: The district plans to fund approximately $10 million in capital infrastructure repairs/upgrades over a five year period. This will help to reduce the total estimated amount of $36 million in projects identified in the Building Condition Survey. Larger, more involved projects would be best served through a bond to provide a lesser impact to the taxpayer. Q: The district recently was notified of an increase in state aid this year from the GEA. Where was it utilized? A: The Citizens Budget Advisory Committee recommended that the district try to keep the tax rate increase under four percent. The additional funds were applied directly to lowering the tax rate from 4.7 percent to 3.92 percent. Q: Where can I find more information on the budget? A: The entire budget is online at mtplcsd.org under the BOE tab.


FROM THE HEART • Budget Issue 2016

Voter Registration Evening Wednesday, May 11 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Westlake High School lobby


For voter information including absentee ballot applications, visit mtplcsd.org or call the District Clerk at 773-7884.

Mount Pleasant Central School District

Non-Profit Organization US Postage Paid White Plains, NY Permit No. 9415

West Lake Drive, Thornwood, NY 10594 Board of Education Eric Schulze, President Laurie Donato, Vice President Theresa Fowler Thomas McCabe Colleen Scaglione Neglia John Piazza Christopher Pinchiaroli Superintendent Dr. Susan Guiney


Contact Information Phone: 769-5500 • Fax 769-3733 Website: mtplcsd.org

2016-17 Mount Pleasant Central School District Budget Notice Overall Budget Proposal

Budget Adopted for the 2015-16 School Year

Total Budgeted Amount, Not Including Separate Propositions

Contingency Budget for the 2016-17 School Year *

Budget Proposed for the 2016-17 School Year



$ 57,626,342



Percentage Increase/Decrease in Proposed Budget



Change in the Consumer Price Index


Increase/Decrease for the 2016-17 School Year

A. Proposed Levy to Support the Total Budgeted Amount, Net of Reserve



B. Levy to Support Library Debt, if Applicable



C. Levy for Non-Excludable Propositions, if Applicable **



D. Total Tax Cap Reserve Amount Used to Reduce Current Year Levy













E. Total Proposed School Year Tax Levy (A + B + C - D) F. Total Permissible Exclusions G. School Tax Levy Limit, Excluding Levy for Permissible Exclusions H. Total Proposed School Year Tax Levy, Excluding Levy to support Library Debt and/or Permissible Exclusions (E - B - F + D) I. Difference: G – H (Negative Value Requires 60.0% Voter Approval — See Note Below Regarding Separate Propositions)** Administrative Component Program Component Capital Component











* Should the proposed budget be defeated, the Board of Education may adopt a contingency budget pursuant to Section 2023 of the Education Law. The contingency budget would eliminate over $1.3 million from the proposed budget in the areas of general support, regular education, special education administration, equipment, athletics, and co-curricular activities. Under the Budget Proposed for the 2016-17 School Year Estimated Basic STAR Exemption Savings



$ 1,805

The annual budget vote for the fiscal year 2016-2017 by the qualified voters of the Mount Pleasant Central school district, Westchester County, New York, will be held at Westlake High School in said district on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m., prevailing time, at which time the polls will be opened to vote by voting ballot or machine. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------1 The basic school tax relief (STAR) exemption is authorized by section 425 of the Real Property Tax Law.

Profile for Mount Pleasant CSD

From the Heart - Budget Issue 2016  

From the Heart - Budget Issue 2016