The budget approved by the Katonah Lewisboro school board Thursday night was largely unchanged from the spending plan proposed by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Kreutzer back on March 1.
In his final presentation of the numbers Kreutzer said the budget accomplished the board goal of maintaining programming and staying within the state's mandated property tax cap limit.
School officials plan to spend $112,996,167, slightly less than the initial budget of $113,062,834 because of $66,667 in savings the district realized through debt refinancing and the elimination of a tax anticipation note. The final budget is a 1.78 increase over last year's budget and raises the tax levy by 2.09 percent.
The school board approved the budget in a 6-1 vote, with board member Peter Treyz voting against the proposal.
In addition, the board approved a ballot proposition that would authorize the school district to spend $5.9 million from its general fund balance toward building improvements and repairs. The measure passed 7-0.
Board President Mark Lipton thanked the school administrators for their hard work in crafting the budget. He also thanked his colleagues on the board and the community for participating in the process.
"Through your pariticpation, we can create a budget that reflects values of this community," he said. "It's the job of this board to balance the needs of the entire district—whether it's class size at the elementary level or class offerings at the high school. I believe this budget gives students the opportunity to learn something new and meaningful every day."
The tax rates are estimated to increase in Bedford by 6.64 percent; Lewisboro by 1.8 percent and in North Salem and Pound Ridge, the tax rate is estimated to decreast by 1.2 percent and 1.95 percent, respectively.
Despite the last minute pleas from parents of Meadow Pond parents to keep class sizes smaller than they are projected in this budget, the board defended the plan—which calls for cutting 24 staff positions—as one that is fair and equitable as possible given the financial constraints the district is under.
See the video clips for highlights of that discussion.
In addition, Gabrielle Miller, a high school junior, presented a petition to the school board regarding the layoff of Caryn Gilbert, an attendance clerk employed at the high school. Her speech is posted here.
The budget and building renovations proposition will be up for a community vote on May 15.
For additional details on the board discussion of the budget,