From the Heart • Budget Issue 2017
Budget Issue Mount Pleasant — The Heart of Westchester County
7 a.m. – 9 p.m. Westlake High School Gymnasium 825 Westlake Drive Thornwood
Meet the BOE Candidates Monday, May 8 7:30 p.m. Westlake library
Laura Michalec Olszewski
Four candidates are running for two open seats on the school board. Moderated by the League of Women Voters
The Mount Pleasant Central School District Newsletter Volume 16, Issue 4
Working Together for Strong Schools This year on Tuesday May 16th, the public will be asked to vote on the Mount Pleasant Central School District’s budget. Many months of diligent work and planning have been spent to arrive at a budget that we hope the community will agree presents a carefully crafted spending plan for the students, school facilities and community.
Tax Cap Compliant Once Again For the sixth straight year, we have been able to keep the budget “tax-cap” compliant. While the term “2% tax-cap” can be misleading, it really is a complicated calculation and often difficult to understand. Each year the tax-cap changes based on a variety of factors such as the tax base growth factor of the community (0.09% in Mount Pleasant this year) and the Consumer Price Index (1.26%). It limits the amount the tax levy is allowed to grow. For the 2017/18 school year, the tax cap limit is 1.28%. With costs increasing, the majority of which are out of the district’s control, it can be a challenge to appropriate funds with limited financial resources. We have to ask ourselves each year: What does the district need to look like going forward? What is valuable? What is expendable? How are our facilities? How much staffing do we need? What are the mandates – many of which are unfunded? How much will taxpayers support? These are all questions we take into consideration as we sit at the budgeting table. Budget Priorities Gratefully, we had wonderful support and input from the community in this budgeting process. Once again this year, a Citizens Budget Advisory Committee was formed which met on a monthly basis to discuss the aforementioned questions and act as liaisons between the administration and community members. New this year, a Facilities Advisory Committee was put into place to help prioritize facilities maintenance and upgrades. The input from these two groups helped determine what we need to focus on in this budget. The 2017/18 budget priorities include: elementary class size, sustaining rigorous academic programs, continued investment in facilities, safety and security,
By the Numbers 2017-18 Budget...........$58,950,394 2016-17 Budget............$58,931,394 Budget-to-Budget.............. $19,000 Tax Levy Increase...................1.28% Est. Tax Rate Increase..........1.314% * * Tax rate will be set by the town in August, 2016
and staying within the tax cap. At the elementary level, we plan to add one class section at Hawthorne and two sections at Columbus to address enrollment and maintain desirable class sizes. In order to budget for these positions, we have reduced supplemental positions at various grade levels and in the libraries and computer labs based on students’ needs. On the facilities front, we plan to take advantage of economies of scale and have budgeted several projects to coincide with the bond-related work. Ceiling tile and lighting fixtures that were not included in the bond will be replaced while contractors are on site. Additionally, roof repairs at Columbus are budgeted for and will be completed this year. Finally, we are excited to bring our “Tech Ed” room at the Westlake campus up to 21st century standards and create a modern STEAM Lab/ Maker Space area to benefit all of our students. Overall, the proposed 17/18 budget maintains programs and services for our students, maintains class sizes, and supports the wonderful work of our students in our schools. If you have any budget related questions, please feel free to reach out to us. Sincerely,
Dr. Susan Guiney Superintendent of Schools
From the Heart • Budget Issue 2017
School Board Candidates
Theresa Fowler Hawthorne
Maria Jost Hawthorne
Laura Michalec Olszewski Thornwood
Family: Husband, David; two children (WHS grads)
Family: Wife Gina; three children (WMS and HES)
Family: Husband Chris; twin sons (WHS grads)
Family: Husband, Ron; three children (WHS and WMS)
Community Involvement: School board 2009-16; vice president ’10/11; president ’11/12; Citizens Budget Advisory Committee; actively involved in helping school bond get passed; currently collaborating with Pepsi to raise funds for a community playing field.
Community Involvement: Sherman Park Little League Manager/Coach, Westlake Wildcat Flag Football Coach, Cookies for Kids Cancer Bake Sales, PTA member
Community Involvement: Chair of the PTA Ways & Means committee; Co-founder of the Mt. Pleasant SEPTA; co-chair of the Special Ed Advisory Committee, Catechist at Holy Rosary Church in Hawthorne for the last 16 years
Community Involvement: Secretary of WMS PTA; Cub Scout Leader and Master (2005-2015) for Hawthorne Cub Scouts; Westlake Athletic Club Member; Assistant Costume Designer for Westlake Players; Lector and Bell Choir member at Holy Rosary Church
Occupation: Royal Coach bus driver
Why are you running? I want to ensure that the district continues to secure the safety and security of our children. I worked directly in passing the bond and want to see it through. I am honest, committed, and my heart is with this district. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Being fiscally responsible • Financial challenges (state aid, mandates, tax cap and budgetary constraints) • Maintaining programs for both general and special ed students How would you like to see the district address those challenges? I believe that everyone should work together including staff, parents, community and the administration for the benefit of our children. Unity is very important. Facing financial constraints is something our district is dealing with while trying to stay under the 2% tax cap. We all need to work together!
Michael Horan Hawthorne
The following candidates are running for two open seats on the Board of Education. The three-year terms begin July 1, 2017.
Occupation: Lieutenant, FDNY; Owner/Operations Manager, Broadway City Style Dance Studio
Why are you running? I would like to help the district continue to provide excellence in education that all of our children deserve while remaining fiscally responsible to all residents of our community. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Remaining fiscally responsible by staying within the tax cap, especially with the teachers contract unsettled and the continuation of unfunded mandates • New home construction and the increased strain on class size, services and infrastructure • Social issues and pressures facing our children such as alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide awareness/prevention How would you like to see the district address those challenges? Explore new sources of income; limit the number of new homes constructed on substandard lots; increase awareness programs and counselor availability.
Occupation: Own and manage Occupation: Administrative residential real estate in the Law Judge within the federal Bronx & Manhattan government
Why are you running? I am fully committed to ensuring our schools strive for excellence while being fiscally responsible to the community. My professional experience will be useful during the repairs and renovation of our infrastructure and the budgeting process. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Lack of financial resources • Executing the phases of the bond project with transparency and accountability • Preparing our high school students with career aspirations in specialty fields How would you like to see the district address those challenges? Using our limited financial resources in a creative manner while being fiscally responsible toward the community, especially our seniors; strict monitoring of negotiations and contracts for each phase of the bond with total transparency; continue working to offer International Baccalaureate (IB) programs.
Why are you running? I have dedicated my personal and professional career to serving the public and want to continue that effort by advocating for the education of our children in a fiscally responsible manner. What are the top three challenges facing our district? • Budgetary issues with limited financial resources • Open dialogue and transparency to build trust • Maintaining Special Ed and all programs for our children How would you like to see the district address those challenges?: All challenges must be met in a fiscally responsible manner. The district must be effective and efficient in maintaining all programs with limited resources. We need to strengthen community support through outreach and open dialogue.
Responses have been edited. For complete candidate questionnaires and additional budget information, visit mtplcsd.org
2017-18 Adopted Budget Budget Increase
Est. Tax Rate Increase*
Est. Total Tax Rate per $1,000
Est. $ Increase per mo. / year**
$10.36 / $124.32
* Actual tax rate is set by the town in August, 2017. ** Based on average assessment of $8,300.
Other Revenue Sources
Property Tax Levy
Appropriated Fund Balance Total Revenue
Revenue Explained — Property Tax Levy is the portion of the budget funded by taxpayers. The tax cap limits the levy increase to 1.28%. State Aid: The governor’s budget helped us out with a small increase, although not as much as we had hoped. 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 help stay within the taxcap.
Q&AYou asked …
Debt Service/Transfers TOTAL BUDGET
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 increased due to more out-of-district transportation requirements. Benefits: Reductions in Teacher Retirement System benefits have been offset by moderate increases in the cost of contractual health insurance and other employee benefits. Debt Service reflects a decrease to the existing debt schedule.
Q: Does the adopted budget maintain class size? A: Yes, maintaining class size in the desirable range (HES: 20-22, CES: 22- 24 and WMS/HS: 24-26) is a high priority this year. One section at Hawthorne and two sections at Columbus have been added to maintain these ranges.
forced to take a hard look at where cutbacks could be made. In the area of facilities operations and maintenance, reductions and/ or delays in improvement projects, supplies, and overtime were found. We were also able to reduce some of our costs associated with Westchester BOCES.
Q: How does our tax rate compare with surrounding districts? A: Per $1000 of assessed value, Mount Pleasant taxpayers have a lower tax rate than five other surrounding towns, including Tarrytown, Briarcliff Manor, Pleasantville, Chappaqua, and Valhalla. This has been consistent for several years.
Q: Why can’t we continue to use our fund balance to finance some of our expenses and balance the budget? A: Using the fund balance to balance the budget is a last resort after budget reductions and all potential revenue sources are exhausted. We are limited to 4% of the previous year’s budget. It is not advisable to continue dipping into this “savings account” to pay for recurring expenses as the funds are not endlessly available. This year $250,000 of our savings will be used to help balance the 17/18 budget. This fund balance eventually has to be replenished as it may affect our bond ratings. Lower ratings translate to higher borrowing costs.
Q: With rising operating costs, where were cuts made in order to balance the budget and stay within the tax cap? A: Certain expenses are beyond our control such as debt service payments and contractual obligations with staff and transportation. With costs increasing in several of these areas, we were
From the Heart • Budget Issue 2017
From the Heart • Budget Issue 2017
Voting Information For information on voting and absentee ballot applications, please see the Community Information page in the District Calendar or visit mtplcsd.org under the “Board of Education” tab. For any questions on voting, please 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 Chris Pinchiaroli, President Thomas McCabe, Vice President Laurie Donato Vincent Graci Colleen Scaglione Neglia John Piazza Eric Schulze
* * * ECRWSS * * * Postal Customer Thornwood, NY 10594
Superintendent Dr. Susan Guiney Contact Information Phone: 769-5500 • Fax 769-3733 Website: mtplcsd.org
2017-18 Mount Pleasant Central School District Budget Notice Overall Budget Proposal
Budget Adopted for the 2016-17 School Year
Total Budgeted Amount, Not Including Separate Propositions
Contingency Budget for the 2017-18 School Year *
Budget Proposed for the 2017-18 School Year
Percentage Increase/Decrease in Proposed Budget
Change in the Consumer Price Index
Increase/Decrease for the 2017-18 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)
G. School Tax Levy Limit, Excluding Levy for Permissible Exclusions
F. Total 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 $649,000 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 2017-18 School Year Estimated Basic STAR Exemption Savings
The annual budget vote for the fiscal year 2017-2018 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 16, 2017 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.