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Bedford Central Easily Passes 2012-13 School Budget

Budget approved by more than 2-1 margin.

The Bedford Central School District's 2012-13 budget was overwhelmingly approved by the voters.

According to District Clerk Carole LaColla, it came in at 1,769 in favor and 624 against. There are 15,831 eligible to vote in the district, according to LaColla.

The spending plan totals $122,698,040, an increase of 3.12 percent, and falls below the new state mandated property tax cap.

School Board President Susan Elion Wollin said, "We are grateful to the community," for their continued support.

Wollin, herself up for re-election but uncontested, won with 1,544 votes. Also unopposed were Andrew Bracco, winning with 1,436 votes, and Lee Goldstein, winning with 1,404.

The tax levy, which is the total amount of property taxes to be collected, is raised by by 2.69 percent, to $108,063,040. For the tax rates, Bedford residents will see an increase of 8.49 percent. Mount Kisco residents will see a drop of 0.89 percent and Pound Ridge residents will see a 0.26 decrease. New Castle residents will have a 3.66-percent drop and North Castle residents getting a 3.15-percent drop.

The budget includes cuts of 55.4 jobs, with about 37 of those coming from eliminating in-house busing staff. The in-house work will be contracted out to Long Island-based Towne Bus Corp. It also includes $1,250,000 in capital spending for fixes that such as asbestos ceiling abatement at Fox Lane High School and Pound Ridge Elementary School, along with boiler replacements for Mount Kisco Elementary School and Bedford Hills Elementary School.

Wollin and Goldstein have won full, 3-year terms, while Bracco has won the remaining two years of an unexpired term. He was appointed by the school board last fall to fill a seat vacated by Mark Chernis, a longtime member who stepped down in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest with his employer, education services provider Pearson.

Goldstein is filling an open seat being vacated by Graham Anderson, who chose not to run again.

Information for the budget vote is also available by election district, which corresponds to elementary school attendance zones. Such information for the school board seats was not immediately available.

Bedford Schools 2011 Vote by the Numbers

Budget Vote

Vote Yes No Budget Proposal 1,769 624

School Board Race

School Board Candidates Total Votes Susan Elion Wollin
1,544 Andrew Bracco
1,436 Lee Goldstein
1,404

By election district (based on elementary schools):

School Yes/Budget No/Budget Wollin Goldstein
Bracco
Bedford Village ES
476 231 N/A
N/A N/A Bedford Hills ES
229 89 N/A N/A N/A Mount Kisco ES
342 105 N/A N/A N/A Pound Ridge ES
424 142 N/A N/A N/A West Patent ES
298 57 N/A N/A N/A
Lisa Buchman (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 03:59 AM
In case you missed it, here are some comments received by Patch from voters on Tuesday—http://bedford.patch.com/articles/bedford-2012-school-voter-turnout-stable. What did you have in mind when you voted?
Liz C May 16, 2012 at 12:17 PM
Can somebody explain this? How do the tax increases work? Why is there such a discrepancy between towns? "For the tax rates, Bedford residents will see an increase of 8.49 percent. Mount Kisco residents will see a drop of 0.89 percent and Pound Ridge residents will see a 0.26 decrease. New Castle residents will have a 3.66-percent drop and North Castle residents getting a 3.15-percent drop"
Lisa Buchman (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Hi Liz, the overall tax levy increase, which is the total amount of money to be raised through property taxes to support the budget, results from subtracting all aid, revenues, and fund balance appropriations from the total expenditures. Tax rates, which are used to determine how much each taxpayer must contribute to the tax levy, are listed in terms of what the rate is per $1,000 of assessed property value. Once the levy is established, the school board has little control over the tax rates, which are a factor of the value a town assessor has placed on an individual's property and equalization rates set by the state. Hope this helps.
Liz C May 16, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Thanks Lisa-Can you put that into layman's terms? I'm a new resident of Bedford so the 8.49% increase while other towns have a decrease doesn't really make sense to me.
Tom Auchterlonie (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Hi Liz, the equalization rate is used to apportion the tax levy among the various towns within the school district. Tax rates can vary because towns do not assess their properties at the same percentage of their market value. The equalization rate is used to reconcile that gap, but it can lead to swings in taxes, and from what I recall from covering the school board, it's because of how the properties in the different towns performed relative to each other recently. Things can reverse quickly. Last year, Bedford saw a decrease in its tax rate while Mount Kisco saw a huge increase, so it varies in each budget.
Lisa Buchman (Editor) May 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Thanks Tom - Liz, what he said! Plus, if you really want an in-depth understanding, you can watch this presentation that was done at a Bedford school board meeting and it's a thorough explanation - in layman's terms: http://bedfordcsdtv.pegcentral.com/player.php?video=3d7ce463c3b793cf9286e477dde3bba2
Theresa May 16, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Mount Kisco saw a huge tax increase with what to show for it? I live in Kisco and I can tell you the answer is ZERO.
Michelle May 16, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Theresa: What were you expecting in terms of "show?" We have great schools, great teachers, great programs. The school budget needs to support this. Unlike a business, that "shows" revenue, what is "shown" in a school is when we see our students succeed personally and academically.
Michelle May 16, 2012 at 11:41 PM
Theresa: What were you expecting in terms of "show?" We have great schools, great teachers, great programs. The school budget needs to support this. Unlike a business, that "shows" revenue, what is "shown" in a school is when we see our students succeed personally and academically.
Galia of Mount Kisco May 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Thanks, Michelle, for clarifying what we can look for as value for our tax dollars. Even if you don't have kids in the schools at this time, you must know that your property values are heavily influenced by the quality of the disctrict's schools. I personally think of my school taxes as my kids' tuition. For the quality of education they are getting, it's a bargain.
Theresa May 18, 2012 at 11:08 PM
Boy are you people naive! You'll learn eventually....when you can't afford your property taxes. For $26,000/year per student, we should have MUCH better scores. Galia of Mt Kisco: the quality of education has gone down. I've put 3 kids thru the district and still have one in elementary school and I've been able to track the quality of education over the last 20 years. You people are being duped BIG time. Say NO to these inflated budgets. Even a 2% increase is too much.

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