Residents of the Bedford Central School District community will get their chance Tuesday, May 17 to vote for, or against, a $118,980,000 million school budget.
District officials have emphasized that this year's spending plan is a "means to an end," and is part of a longer strategy that includes studying such budget impacts as Cuomo's proposed property tax cap, potential pension or other mandate relief and any other changes in state law.
“We will be studying over the next six-to-12 months those impacts that are still unknown to us,” said Jere Hochman, superintendent of Bedford schools, at the district's May 5 budget hearing.
Major budget drivers include over $2 million in increased pension costs and $1 million in health care claims. Reductions were realized in areas such as a new , and savings through staff retirements. The district's presentation is posted with this story.
The budget proposal represents a 2.15 percent increase from this year’s budget. The tax levy, which is the portion of the budget that is paid through property taxes, will increase by 1.8 percent. Tax rates are projected to increase in Mount Kisco by 11.2 percent; by 2.86 percent in Pound Ridge; by 7.25 percent in New Castle and by 3.4 percent in North Castle. The rate decreases by 3.01 percent in Bedford.
The spending plan maintains all instructional programs but will cut 4.25 full-time equivalent teaching positions through scheduling changes and course efficiencies. Another 9 civil servant positions are eliminated in the budget.
The district’s contingency budget would be $118,403,681, which represents an increase of about 1.65 percent from this year’s budget.
School districts have the option of going directly to a contingency budget if their first budget proposal is defeated, but are required to go to a contingency budget if their proposed spending plans are defeated twice.
If the district is forced to use a contingency budget, it would result in .5 percent decrease in tax rates.
for our previous story on the proposed budget's details and programmatic changes.
School board race
Eric Karle is running unopposed for his seat on the school board.
Incumbent Mark Chernis, a Bedford Corners resident, faces a challenge from Richard Hooker of Mt. Kisco. Chernis has emphasized his experience on the board, professional background working with school districts and understanding of school finances. Read his .
Richard Hooker stated his desire to help control district spending as a main reason for seeking a seat on the board, and has suggested an incentive plan to reward employees or students who find ways to save the district money. The two faced off in a candidate forum hosted by the League of Women Voters. Read Read Hooker's
Where and when to vote
Vote in the elementary school serving your attendance area, from 7 a.m. - 9 p.m. Any questions about the process may be directed toward Carole LaColla, district clerk, at 241-6011 or firstname.lastname@example.org