K-L Voters Pass Budget, Schiff, Tobin Win Seats on Board

The budget passed with 62 percent of the vote.

Katonah Lewisboro voters today approved the school district's and elected and to the school board.

Unofficial results were announced just after 9:30 p.m. at , where school board president Mark Lipton thanked voters for supporting the budget.

"Tonight you voted to pass the 2012-13 budget as adopted by the board of education," he said. "By doing so, you tell us that this budget identifies your goals for your schools and gives the board the means to achieve those goals."

Lipton said the board would work together with the K-L administration to ensure that the children in the district received the education for which voters were paying. 

He also thanked voters for their support of the ballot proposition authorizing the school district to spend $5.9 million from its general fund balance toward building improvements and repairs.

"By making these much-needed improvements we hope to extend the life of our buildings as well as reduce overall expenses by making our buildings more efficient," he said.

The funds will pay for repairs to aging boilers and roofs and will address approximately 20 percent of a

Schiff, who received an overwhelming 39 percent of the vote, said she was so grateful for the friends and community members who have supported her in the weeks leading up to the election.

"Without them I could not have run, and would not have won," she said.

On specific areas of board work she'd like to be involved, Schiff said her background might be best suited for serving on the audit committee or policy—she's already begun studying the policy manual—but it was too early to say definitively.

"I think there's a lot to learn—not only about policies but I'm looking forward to learning about the issues facing the district that I've presumably only just begun to learn about," she said. "And I'm looking forward to representing the community—I see that as the essential work of the board and I'm excited about the opportunity."

Tobin said she, too, had a big learning curve but looked forward to getting to work. "I feel that by the community coming out and voting strongly for me was a positive reinforcement for what my campaign was all about, which was strong academics. I plan on looking at everything through the lens of 'does this make our schools stronger and are we challenging our students." 

Both and congratulated their opponents and said they would look for ways to stay involved in district issues.

"The process is just beginning for me," said Yanish. "My desire to do this wasn't contingent on winning—it was about serving a community I love any way I can. I'm definitely happy I ran and I was honored to be a part of the process."

The spending plan totals $112,996,167 and represents a 1.78 increase over last year's budget.

The tax levy is to be raised by 2.09 percent, with rates estimated to increase in Bedford and Lewisboro, by 6.64 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively. In North Salem and Pound Ridge, tax rate will drop by 1.2 percent and 1.95 percent, respectively.

Approximately 17 percent of eligible voters participated in the election, according to Kimberly Monzon, district clerk. A total of 2,243 votes were cast for the budget and there are 13,511 total registered voters in the district.

The May 15, 2012 Vote by the Numbers

Budget vote and and capital projects proposition

Vote Yes No $113 million budget  1,394 849 $5.9 million capital projects 
 1,499 724

School board election

School board race Number of votes Rich Delin
724 Marjorie Schiff
Stephanie Tobin
 963 Mindy Yanish

By election district

School Budget Vote Capital Projects
Rich Delin
Marjorie Schiff Stephanie Tobin Mindy Yanish LES 365 yes, 262 no  418 yes,  220 no 216 415 311 121 MPES 204 yes, 205 no
 240 yes,  68 no 146 265 162 58 KES  439 yes,  196 no  450 yes,  174 no 194 450 235 213 IMES  375 yes, 186 no  391 yes,  163 no 168 345 255 172
D.S. May 16, 2012 at 11:18 PM
John Craig...when is the budget high enough for you to vote it down? Why is it that every year they want more money and none of the schools seem to be able to live within a budget like 99% of the households they serve do? I can tell you are an Obama supporter and with values like his this country will owe 50 trillion dollars if he gets re-elected.....so I have a good idea for you....why don't they make a law whereby everyone has to give the government their pay check on a weekly basis and then that money will be divided by the numer of people contributing and then everyone will have their fair share. Spend spend spend...seems to be all you people know!
rene May 17, 2012 at 12:23 AM
Mr Craig and taxpayers: are you aware that the "travel and conference expense" or staff development included a trip to NYC over this past February break to the Metropolitian Museum for the teachers? Our property tax dollars payed for this "staff development."
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 01:22 AM
Wow, Deborah. The vote doesn't go your way so you make assumptions about people who disagree with you. Regarding your response way above. Room & Board is just another reason why it's not a useful comparison - thank you for pointing that out. The district has no control over the Tax equalization rates (and neither do I). But I notice that it's your neighbors in the KES district that supported the budget the MOST (69%) and are the largest district of voters (28%). (I live in IMES). Regarding your attacks: I'm not forcing you to move out. I don't care what you do frankly. But why would I move? I moved here specifically for the schools. I've purchased 2 homes in this district. I like it here. I'm not moving - you'll have to adjust. I made my own informed decision on picking a school district, voting on the budget and choosing a house. You're free to do the same. You don't know anything about me or my values. Just because I value strong education certainly doesn't mean that I support Obama (I don't). So that you know, I'm a registered Republican, with fairly strong Libertarian leanings. Most Republicans (certainly Libertarians) believe Education should be managed locally - which is what we had with yesterday's democratic election. Get over it. I don't presume to guess anything about you, but in history there have been political groups for people who say things like "why don't you and people like you do the rest of us a favor and be the ones to move out."
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Rene, I did not know about the trip all the way to NYC to the Met Museum. Why did they go? Was it conference? How many teachers went? Was there some objective for the trip? Or was it just a ridiculous boondoggle? These are legitimate questions. I do know that my kid's 5th grade class is going to the Met's game tomorrow. Did you know that? That's certainly not essential. I don't know if the school is paying for it or if the PTA is paying. But I bet if they would have asked, the PTA could have raised the money for it. I wouldn't mind paying for it. In fact, I fully support parents paying more of the ancillary costs associated with education.
D.S. May 17, 2012 at 01:43 AM
I have lived in this district for over 37 years, my husband his whole life ( he has just turned 70). We object to people like you that move in to the area for the schools(which frankly aren't any better than a lot of others in the area with lower taxes) and then once their children graduate they move out leaving people like me who also put 4 children through these schools with taxes up the you know what. This is my home, my community, my family has been here for generations. On my block alone there are 4 houses for sale at the present time and there are a few houses where people moved in only to move out again in a year or two. If $32,000.00 per student isn't high enough to vote the budget down , let me ask you what number would be? Just 2 years ago it cost $27,000.00, that's an increase of $5,000.00 in just 2 years. have you noticed your child being better taught for that extra money? When it goes up another $5,000.00 in two years will our kids then be Einsteins? Do you think that by throwing money into the budget your child will be better educated? Also I included room , board and food into my about statement just to point out that including those things it still doesn't come close to what we pay here for the 6 hours a day our children go to school, imagine that.....teaching, feeding and housing for about half of the $32,000.00. Throw in the money that they get from the government and the fact still remains that FOOD, TEACHING AND HOUSING is included!
rene May 17, 2012 at 05:17 AM
In response, I don't know the particulars about the "staff development" day at the Met in Feb, just that the teachers went at taxpayer expense. My kids did 5th grade end of the year class activities. they used to go on an overnight field trip but stopped because of liability and I believe difficulty getting parent chaperones and I know alot of school trips in all of the schools had to be eliminated due to the triple busing. Hope the kids enjoy the Mets game. the school day as noted above is 6 hours long but that's just the start of a student's day because then there's 4-6-8 hours of homework nightly plus weekends plus all holidays and school vacations too and that doesn't include time for sports or theater or if your kid is in music. kids can't be kids anymore.
JohnCW May 17, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Rene: The trip you refer to was a total boondoggle. There was no staff develpment, or team building that took place, They went because there was money in the budget and the attitude is let's spend it!
D.S. May 17, 2012 at 02:43 PM
JohnCW....I'm glad to see someone else in this community that feels as I do....that as long as you give them more money they will find something to spend it on. One of the biggest pet peeves of mine is when someone says " we shouldn't allow this or that in these tough economic times" They should NEVER be allowed to have a dime more than they absolutely need to meet their needs. I would like to decide how to spend my extra money, not the school district or the government. Another thing that bothers me is why when they give themselves a perk is it always top of the line...for instance if a person gets the use of a car.....it's not a toyota corolla or something...it's an escalade......if they get a meal allowance it's not a sandwich, it's a filet mignon......they love spending our money......what pray tell are they going to do when enough residents wake up and start demanding some of this money back?
Thomas Linson May 17, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Deborah, JohnCW and others are all on the mark. Does anyone actually think before going to the polls and checking “yes?” If you believe the absolutely preposterous $32,000 cost per student in this district is necessary and paying off, you’re deluding yourselves. Why is enrollment down something like 14% these past several years, yet the budget keeps going up, up, up—and nobody does anything to stop it? There has to be a limit to this insanity. People do their homework car shopping or scouring coupon codes online, why doesn’t anyone do their research before parading in like sheeple? You shouldn’t have to be a retired armchair curmudgeon to “get it”: I’m just getting out of school at a top-tier university that will hopefully help me command me a salary to own property in Westchester someday, but once I have the luxury of choice I’ll choose to go elsewhere. Maybe somewhere like Fairfax, VA, where the schools are among the top in the country with nearly half the cost per student of KL and property taxes aren’t gouged over needless excess (ie, A.P. Farm fields), unsustainable union commitments made at the behest of district officials with taxpayer wallets and top-heavy administration. If KLSD was a company, the shareholders would be tarring, feathering and running every member of the board of education out of town on a rail. It’s time to start exercising your rights as a shareholder in this community and restore accountability, integrity and morality.
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Deborah, You've talked about the cost of college education many times, what is the number you've calculated? When you include the State Income Tax subsidization, and other relevant spending, what is the total cost to educate a college student?
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 09:17 PM
To be clear: I think cost of education is TOO HIGH and needs to be addressed. But the 2 biggest drivers of the cost increases over the past 2 years were NOT fixable in this budget. I voted yes because I didn't want to see real education cuts that would affect our kids due to decisions that were made LONG ago. PENSION COSTS accounted for most, to half of the budget increase in the last 2 years (+$1.8MM & +$.9MM respectively). This is due to pension promises that were made 10 - 20 years ago. I really wish people that were here when those promises were made could be held ACCOUNTABLE. Cuomo's Tier 6 is a step in the right direction. I favor a Defined Contribution System. HEALTH INSURANCE COST increases have also been big (+$1.7MM last year & +$178k this year). Increased contribution to health insurance HAS to be part of this coming year's negotiations. TRANSPORTATION was also a big increase this year (to address communication issues & some replacement buses). I believe our district should be in the business of education, not transportation. The bus system should be privatized. Like some have said here, people should know the facts -- not just made up stuff they keep repeating. The cost / student in 10-11 was $28,390. Last year the proposed budget / student grew +9.4%. For 12-13 it's up +3.6%. That's movement in the right direction. If the community focuses on the big stuff, maybe we'll get savings in the contract next year and things will improve further.
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Who in this district get's the use of a car? That needs to be investigated -- IF it's true.
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 09:20 PM
John CW: Which school were these people from? It sounds ridiculous. Let us know. Maybe Patch can do a story on it.
John Craig May 17, 2012 at 10:08 PM
I agree, people should do their homework. Enrollment in 2008-09 was 3,880. Projected for 2012-13 is 3,512. In those 4 years, enrollment is down by -9%. New York State population of children 18 and under is down -8% between from 2000 to 2010. http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/cats/population.html If enrollment continues to decline, eventually the district will have to combine with North Salem. I'd be OK with that. Congratulations on graduation. We all have the luxury of choice!
JohnCW May 17, 2012 at 10:58 PM
John Craig - As far as I have been able to determine all the teachers were from the High School. As far as your comments regarding the budget is concerned I diagree with you. Yes, the contractual obligations are there, so are the pension costs. However, there is much low hanging fruit to be plucked. The BOE wants you to think that they have picked the low hanging fruit, they have not. Much of our tax dollars are being wasted. Staff getting stipends for work to be performed after shool hours, but actually doing the work during the school day. Two years ago a whole pallet of paper dissapeared from the HS. Under Roelle a number of senior positons were filled, he overpaid for each and every postion.
D.S. May 17, 2012 at 10:59 PM
It's amazing....the student population is going down over 300 students yet the budget keeps going up and up.....The word NO needed to be interjected here. I agree that the majority of the budget is for teacher salaries and benefits etc....however those are not voted on or agreed to every 20 years. We're not stupid, contracts as we know are negotiated more frequently than that. The point is the more money the schools get the less likely they are to feel any sort of hardship...after all it's not their money. If they have less money in other areas then maybe those that are suppose to be representing us with negotiate better the next time a contract comes up.
JohnCW May 17, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Check out the story about the bus dirver who is suing the district for medical benefits, if you read it carefully you'll see that the contract calls for life time benefits, there is no clause which forces thee employees to take Medicare once they reach age 65. I pointed this out to the BOE about four years ago when i served on the Finance Committee. You think that corrected that situation? Obviously not.
D.S. May 17, 2012 at 11:01 PM
As for the cost of attending a Suny school and their expenses here you go 2011-12 Typical Expenses for Undergraduate Students at a SUNY College State-Operated Campuses Baccalaureate Degree Programs New York State Residents Out-of-State Residents 2 Living on Campus Commuter Living on Campus Tuition $5,270 $5,270 $14,320 3 Student Fees 1 $1,330 $1,330 $1,330 Room and Board $10,820 $3,640 $10,820 Books and Supplies $1,260 $1,260 $1,260 Personal Expenses $1,430 $1,450 $1,430 Transportation $1,010 $1,810 $1,010 TOTAL COST $21,120 $14,760 $30,170 Community Colleges Associate Degree Programs InState/In District 4 Out-of-State Residents 2 Living on Campus Commuter Living on Campus Tuition $3,700 $3,700 $7,630 Student Fees 1 $490 $490 $490 Room and Board $9,190 $3,400 $9,190 Books and Supplies $1,270 $1,270 $1,270 Personal Expenses $1,060 $1,180 $1,060 Transportation $1,260 $1,670 $1,260 TOTAL COST $16,970 $11,710 $20,900 1This figure represents the average fee. Typically fees at the State-operated campuses range from $870 to $2,280. 3Tuition rate for non-New York residents enrolled in a bachelor's degree program at University at Albany, Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, or Stony Brook University is anticipated to be $14,720. 4Community colleges generally double their in-state tuition for non-residents. State-operated campuses include University Centers, University Colleges and Technology Colleges.
D.S. May 17, 2012 at 11:04 PM
The first numbers are for instate living on campus, the second number is for those that commute and the third number is for those that are from out of state
JohnCW May 17, 2012 at 11:06 PM
Shortly after the next to last teachers contract was approved, Mike Gordon made the following statement "I think we gave away the store". How do I know? I was standing right behind him when he said it. The BOE will cave in every time to the teachers and administrators. I
JohnCW May 17, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Included in the budget is approximately $775 for stipends related to Sports, Arts and clubs. Some of the clubs are, Gay Straight Alliance, Courtyard, Rececycle, Iceskating, Skateboarding, Scrapbooking and Beading. I have nothing against sports, arts or clubs that pertain to the educational curiculum. But some of these clubs are nothing short of a free baby sitting service.
Ross Revira May 18, 2012 at 12:40 AM
Deborah I am on your side but SUNY receives approximately 1/3 of its operating budget from the general fund of the state thereby reducing the per pupil cost. Another factor that reduces the per pupil cost is the class size. SUNY has greatly increased it's class size to keep the costs from rising significantly. K-L will be forced to do the same because of the structural deficit the 2% tax levy cap creates. So the big decision for the board will be whether to raise class size or give the teachers no raise in their next contract.
D.S. May 18, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Ross Revira....I realize that the Suny schools get a third of their funding from the general fund from the state, however and In State resident pays about $21,000 a year to attend.....give them the other third from the state and lets say it now is equal to the $32,000.00 that we pay per student in our district.........um.......Suny includes room for that price, books are included in that price, they are including transportation and personal expenses also.....It's like for the same price Suny is selling me a sandwich full of meat and Katonah/Lewisboro school district is selling me just the bread for the same price
JohnCW May 18, 2012 at 12:30 PM
John Craig - Your comment to Debbie about the Social Secuiry tax is a cheap shot. It was easy to figure out that Debbie and her husband are collecting social secuirty, a retirement system they have paid into their entire working life - it is not welfare. I know Debiie does not mind paying school taxes, neither do I. What we object to is the waste that goes on. I have first hand knowledge of that waste. When you try to get the BOE to do soemthing about that waste you get stonewalled.
John Craig May 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
You're right. My apologies to you. Guess I get tired of being told that I need to move out the community. BTW, it is most certainly not a savings program. Current workers pay to support current retirees, who paid to support previous retirees etc back to the 30's. There's no chance I will receive back the amount I paid into it.
JohnCW May 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM
The am ount in my earlier post should have read $775K.
JohnCW May 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM
John Craig - Thanks for your post. Too many people over the years have suggested to those they don't agree with to move out. It is plain wrong and rude. As for the Social Secuirty mess, we can all thank the Johnson administration for that, under that administration they engineered the borrowing from Social Security to close the budget gap in the general fund. The current Administration is only adding to the problem by having reduced the Social Security tax by 2% for the second year in a row.
D.S. May 18, 2012 at 01:09 PM
Thanks for the support John,,,I missed the comment from John Craig concerning social security.....and only my husband is collecting...I have quite a few years to go.....And I don't mind paying taxes...but I'm not willing to pay $32,000 for a car that is only worth lets say $25,000 and the same goes for per pupil costs. I asked the question of a few of the people on this board and I'll ask it again......How much is too much? What does the per pupil cost need to be before people will wake up and vote no on the next budget? If it's gone up $5,000 in two years , then I assume another $5,000 in the next two years making it $37,000 per student per year......is that too much? How about 2 years after that, $42,000.....and so on and so on....it's crazy!
JohnCW May 18, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Too many people don't vote on the school budget, because they think that their vote does not count. They couldn't be more wrong. I believe there are approximately 7,500 registered voters in the KLSD, only 2,243 voted on the budget, that is a 30% turn-out. A pathetic showing. I bet the vast majority of the people who voted have children in the schools. The empty nesters (2/3 of the registered voters) need to go and vote.
rene May 18, 2012 at 06:21 PM
In regards to the cost of educating a student at KL schools at $32K/ year for next yr, you also need to add the cost of at least one tutor/ week all school yr / child at an additional cost of $90-125/ hr.Because in the event your child gets a teacher who doesn't teach the class..only hands out a packet & expects them to self learn or if you have a teacher who doesn't teach in a way your child can learn then you have no other choice but to get your child help.Or if you happen to have a child who gets bullied by a teacher or classmate which KLSD will deny or refuse to address,you can expect to pay up to $300/hr for psychotherapy for your child &/or medical expenses related to injuries/ illnesses caused by that same bully( I know this for fact). Remember former superintendent Roelle "retired" from KL early last spring? He took with him yet another 6 figure pension & then turned around & took yet another 6 figure interim position in lower Westchester for this school year as noted in a Patch article on August 15,2011. Interestingly, Dr Roelle was seen "eyeing" the anticipated superindentent position in North Castle last fall. Isn't two 6 figure pension incomes at taxpayer expense enough? I hope he's enjoying his new $80k+ Mercedes he bought before retiring at KLSD; I can't afford one, but then I don't get a car allowance with my job(isn't it $9-12k that KLSD top administrators get?)nor do I get life time health benefits. That's our tax dollars hard at work educating our kids?


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