Special Budget Issue May
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE TARRYTOWNS
A Letter from The Board President Dear Community Members of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, I write to you to express my thanks for the support our community so consistently shows for our schools. Thanks to you we have an impressive number of students accepted at colleges, including the most prestigious institutions in the country. Students from T.U.F.S.D. are presenting their original research at national conferences in Texas and California. In addition, we have a National Merit Scholarship winner! At our recent HS Jazz Festival, at the Rotary Youth Leadership Conference, and on our athletic fields, our students are working hard and excelling. The guide working with a group of our students on a Spring Break trip to France was amazed at their proficiency speaking French. Another group of students asked the high school
TUESDAY MAY 20 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Board and Administration team have considered various budget options throughout the arduous process. We are presenting voters with a budget that is below the 2% tax levy cap. We feel this proposal can meet the needs of our students and minimize the impact on taxpayers. We are constantly trying to balance both.
Please remember to vote on May 20th!
Tarrytown residents vote at Washington Irving School auditorium
Sleepy Hollow residents vote at Morse School cafeteria
President, Tarrytown Board of Education
2014–15 Budget Facts at a Glance
Understanding the Real Property Tax Freeze Credit
Total Proposed Budget.......................$71,207.600 Budget Increase .......................................... 3.55% Tax Levy Increase* ...................................... 1.92% Tarrytown Tax Rate Increase** .................. 1.80% Sleepy Hollow Tax Rate Increase** .......... .1.60% *Taxy levy increase is in full compliance with the mandated property tax cap levy **Tax rate estimates are based on changes in equalization rates for the towns of Greenburgh and Mount Pleasant. Rates will change between now and August due to the impact of ongoing tax certiorari settlements on total property valuation in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE TARRYTOWNS
Like all school districts, we have some students who face challenges to their learning success. Our fine teachers, combined with proven technology tools, and community partners, are working to help all students to strive to reach their potential. Students are learning so much more than is reflected in test scores.
We know we are very fortunate to be part of a vital community which has so many supportive partners – including the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns, Kids’ Club, the Rotary Club and many others who volunteer their time and energy. We hope you can be a supporter and partner in our efforts.
WHERE TO VOTE
to provide an Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science course. What a pleasure to have our students asking for such things!
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature reached an agreement on a state budget in late March that will provide a property tax freeze credit to some homeowners. The credit will be provided to homeowners who are eligible for the STAR exemption during the 2014–15 and 2015–16 school years, provided the School District stays within the tax levy cap during each of those years. The New York State School Boards Association and other organizations have opposed the tax freeze credit. In its continued on page 2
Failure to Pass Budget Would Require Major Budget Reduction The tax cap law eliminates the “contingency budget” option that existed under the old rules. Previously, if a contingency budget was needed following a budget defeat, a budget increase was still permissible but a cap was placed on the percentage of the increase. Under the tax cap law, school districts are still permitted to hold a second vote if their budget is defeated in the initial vote. However, if a budget fails to pass on the second vote, the allowable tax levy is frozen at this year’s level. Reducing the proposed tax levy for next year to this year’s level would require a reduction in next year’s budget of $1,031,757. The bulk of such a reduction could only be achieved by reducing personnel, which would translate to larger classes and reductions of programs and services for students.
Transportation Proposition on May 20 Ballot Tarrytown voters will be asked to approve an additional proposition on the May 20th ballot: Proposition 2: Equipment purchases subject to voter authorization: • One seven-passenger Suburban van at $40,000 (replacement for aged vehicle). 47.7 percent of the cost is state-aidable • Two passenger vans at $55,000 each (replacement for aged-out vans). 47.7 percent of the cost is state-aidable • One pickup truck with plow and sander at $29,405 (replacement for aged vehicle). 47.7 percent of the cost is state-aidable In order to maintain a safe fleet of vehicles that do not require frequent, expensive repairs, the District follows a multi-year vehicle replacement schedule. This proposition authorizes the school district to purchase four vehicles at a total of $179,405. Voter authorization qualifies the District for reimbursement by the state of $85,576 of the expense.
Understanding the Real Property Tax Freeze Credit continued from page 1
• The credit will be equal to the • Plans can include initiatives through greater of: BOCES, with other districts or an individual district plan – .0146 x school taxes paid in • Organizations including the NYSSBA, 2013–14 the New York State Council of School – or the amount that 2014–15 taxes Superintendents, and the New York exceed 2013–14 taxes State Association of School Business • Taxpayers will receive a check from Officials, have asked the state for NYS Taxation and Finance for the clarification on what constitutes a value of the credit “government efficiency plan.” For 2015-16: In order to stay within the tax cap, says The tax levy cap, instituted in 2011, • The District must stay within tax the NYSSBA report, “schools need mandates that municipal governments levy cap adequate state aid, which the governor’s and school districts secure a super2014–15 budget does not provide.” majority vote to exceed the cap, which • The District must have a stateis tied to the rate of inflation. A superapproved “government efficiency Here are the details of the tax freeze majority is 60 percent of voters. plan” in place that demonstrates credit: three-year savings and efficiencies of The tax-freeze check should not be For 2014-15: at least 1% per year confused with the state’s STAR $350 • District must stay within tax levy • Past efficiencies made by the District rebate check, which was approved in cap, which is 1.46% in 2014-15 will be considered 2013, and will also be sent to STAR • Homeowner must be eligible for recipients who have a child under the STAR exemption age of 18. report, “The Perils of the Proposed Tax Freeze,” NYSSBA points out that making the tax rebate contingent upon school budgets staying within the tax cap “puts immense pressure on school districts to adopt property tax levies that are at or under the tax cap, regardless of whether additional revenues are needed to provide a sound educational program.”
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE TARRYTOWNS
Enrollment Pressures on the 2014–15 Tarrytown Budget In 2014–15, the District has projected an overall increase of 25 new students entering the Tarrytown Schools, based on housing and demographics resources. The largest increases are projected to take place in grades 1, 4, 5, 7 and 8. Although class sizes will remain largely at or below guidelines set forth by the Board of Education, grade two class sizes may minimally exceed the guidelines. Staffing increases in the proposed 2014–15 budget were guided by two major considerations: • Compliance with state mandates for services to special needs students, English Language Learners, and students at risk of performing below target proficiency levels on state assessments. • Maintaining the District’s commitment to educationally responsible and regionally competitive class sizes. The opposite chart is a look at the enrollment projections for 2014–15.
Out of District/ Ungraded TOTAL
BUDGET BALANCING SUMMARY SAVINGS
COST INCREASES Salaries (2% on average) Health insurance premium rates (costs to district have increased by 4.75%) Instructional retirement system contributions will increase by 7.88%
Reduction in special education tuition expenses of $78,673
BOCES special education tuition increases will range from 2.5% to 7%
Reduction in debt service of $289,317
Personnel Additions Due to Enrollment Increases
Additional state aid of $1,479,614
MS Math Specialist Vocational and Career Liaison at SHHS Grant-funded .5 social worker at John Paulding Grant-funded speech and language therapist for elementary schools Teaching assistant at Morse School Teacher Aide at Morse School .5 Chief Information Officer (using funds shifted from BOCES) After-school programs at elementary and secondary schools Two after-school clubs at SHMS Total New Expenses: $520,500
Girls Who Want to Code Get a Visit From Those Who Do When you get more than 20 fifth-grade girls into a classroom, it can get noisy. But the excitement level was at an all-time high at Washington Irving Intermediate School in Tarrytown recently, when that number of girls worked in teams for three hours to build their own websites. That’s right. Build their own websites. The girls, all members of the English Language Arts Challenge class at Washington Irving, were chosen by teacher Elizabeth Hickey, to participate in IBM’s Women in Technology workshop, a class led by a team of IBM professionals who helped the girls build their own web pages. Working on their tablets, the girls learned how to use html, or hypertext markup language (the primary language used to write content on the web), to build their own “birthday wish list” web pages. Instructors also provided them with access to a number of helpful resources, like cssfontstack, a website that provides programmers with access to hundreds of fonts, and flatuicolors, a website with a multitude of available colors.
“This class provides our girls with a basic understanding of computer coding,” said Washington Irving Principal Deb Hand. “It’s fundamental preparation for 21st century skills.” The girls, although still young, reflect a blooming interest in programming as many people move toward technical fields. According to the Computing Research Association, the number of students who enrolled in computer science degree programs rose 10 percent in 2010, and that number continues to grow.
Washington Irving girls learning how to build websites, thanks to IBM.
“There are so few girls in the computer industry,” said Grace Brown, human resources manager for business and technology at IBM, which brought the team to Washington Irving. “We’re hoping this class inspires some of these girls to go on to study in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields that are available to them.” And what better way to appeal to fifthgrade girls than to ask them to create
birthday wish list web pages, where family members and friends can find direct links to items on their wish lists? Ms. Hickey said several of the girls told her that they were so excited about the workshop that they had trouble sleeping the night before. “And I couldn’t help but notice that for two hours, not one student asked to go to the rest rooms,” she said, smiling. “That’s how engaged they were in this class.”
Special Olympics Returning to SHHS! For the second year in a row, more than 500 Special Olympics athletes will descend on the Sleepy Hollow High School athletic fields to participate in the Hudson Valley Region Spring Games East of the Special Olympics on May 17.
For information and questions, email shhsSpringGames@ gmail.com or call 914-332-6201. http://www.signupgenius.com/ go/10C0D4DAAA82BAAFA7-spring
The athletes will be greeted by an Olympic-sized welcoming party of volunteers, who will hold signs and cheer on the visitors. Last year, when Sleepy Hollow was chosen to host again after a 22-year hiatus, more than 700 volunteers showed up to participate. Each participating athlete will also be assigned a special buddy who will assist them throughout the games and events. In 2013, the parade of athletes was led by Tarrytown’s own Headless Horseman, along with dignitaries. The Special Olympics committee needs more volunteers. To sign up to help out on this special day, go to the link below and follow the prompts. Tarrytown greets last year’s Special Olympians.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE TARRYTOWNS
Tarrytown’s Memoir Project Students from Tarrytown once again had the chance to personalize history this spring, holding the popular Memoir Night at the Kendal on Hudson retirement community. The hallways of the Kendal facility were lined March 27 with exhibits, all made by the students, documenting historical milestones ranging from the suffragette movement, to the Holocaust, to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Each student, ranging in age from 8 to 10, was expected during his or her study and as part of the project to take on the persona of a person who might have lived during that period or historical event, dress up as the fictional character, and explain their chosen character and the influence that a specific historical period would have had on that person’s life. While their oral presentations at Kendal on Hudson were important, they also were expected to write “memoirs” from the point of view of the characters they portrayed. Elizabeth Hickey, Challenge Program teacher at the Winfield Morse and Washington Irving Schools, noted that the memoir project – which challenges students by applying the skills of fiction and nonfiction to their projects — fits nicely into expectations set forth by Common Core,
Sleepy Hollow High School Senior Named National Merit Scholarship Winner
the educational standards for kindergarten through 12th grade students in English language arts and mathematics that New York State has adopted. Alistair Rendich-Quinlan, a third-grader, did his research on the infamous sinking of the RMS Titanic on her maiden voyage in 1912. His character, Lawrence, survived the disaster but lost family members in the mad scramble to escape the ship. Arya Glenn played Sarah Rockfield, a brave young suffragist who believed so deeply that women should have the right to vote that she ran away from her Rochester, NY, home to join the suffragette movement as it gained momentum. She eventually helped the movement get Tennessee to become the 36th state in the nation to ratify the 19th Amendment in August of 1920, making it a national law. Other presentations included “Memoir of a Revolutionary Soldier,” “Stan Lee: Man of Marvel,” “Call of the Wild West,” “Miles Davis and the Start of Jazz,” “Adventure in the Ancient Roman Empire: A Memoir of Claudius,” and others. All of the students included citations that explained their research sources and visitors were able to sign up to receive emailed copies of their memoirs.
Foundation Celebrates 20 Years
Congratulations to Lily Sands, Sleepy Hollow High School’s own National Merit Scholarship winner! Lily was among 8,000 winners named by the National Merit Scholarship Competition, all of whom are qualified to receive National Merit, corporate and college scholarships. More than 50,000 students from around the country were singled out earlier in the school year as commended students and semifinalists, and in March, Sleepy Hollow High School announced that three of its students were named among the country’s 15,000 National Merit Finalists: Ms. Sands, Katherine Clayton, and Mackenzie Hodgson.
It was a sold-out crowd of 300 at the Foundation for the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns’ annual fundraiser, a 20th Anniversary Celebration dinner-dance and raffle at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club on the evening of Saturday, March 29. The celebration raised $96,000 (net), and 100 percent of the funds raised will go back into school programs and technology for the 2014-15 school year. Next up? The Foundation’s 5K Color Run, scheduled for June 21 at Sleepy Hollow High School. Adults interested in participating can register for the run at this website: http://www.active.com/sleepy-hollow-ny/running/distance-running-races/horseman-color-run-2014. All photos by Joe Golden.
UFSD of the Tarrytowns 200 North Broadway Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591 www.tufsd.org School News-Cable Channel 77
Non-Profit US Postage PAID Permit #91005 White Plains, NY 10605
Board of Education Mimi Godwin, President Vincent Nadile, Vice President Carol Banino, Trustee Craig Laub, Trustee Jennifer Liddy-Green, Trustee B. Joseph Lillis, Trustee Katharine M. Swibold, Trustee
Tarrytown/Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christopher Clouet (914) 631-9404 Evelyn McCormack, Editor Maria Ilardi, Art Director
The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns do not discriminate on the basis of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, citizenship, age or disability or any other protected classification in its employment, admissions practices, vocational opportunities or access to and treatment in programs or activities, in accordance with Title IX, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title VII and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Inquiries concerning application of these regulations may be made to the Assistant Superintendent of the UFSD of the Tarrytowns, 200 North Broadway, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. 10591.
Regional Efficiency Rankings 2013–14 The Public Schools of the Tarrytowns have operated with increasing efficiency in recent years. As indicated by the graph on the right, the cost per pupil for almost every expenditure category falls within the lower half of the range for our region. Another efficiency indicator is the reduction over time of staff in our schools, from 465 employees serving a student population of 2,278 in 2001–02, to 457 employees serving a student population of 2,849 in 2013–14. Our District serves 25% more students with fewer total staff members than existed a decade ago.
Tarrytowns per-pupil cost ranking among 46 Westchester/Putnam County districts 46th = lowest spending per pupil
1st = highest spending per pupil
Low............................................High Overall cost Central administration Plant operations
34th 37th 38th
Transportation General instruction
Instructional media (libraries, technology) Pupil services
Co-curricular and sports Employee benefits
Need More Information? For more detailed information about the proposed 2014–15 budget, you can visit the Warner Public Library, where copies are available. In addition, you can find a PDF copy of the proposed budget on the School District website at www.tufsd.org.
PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE TARRYTOWNS • BRIDGES