Originally published in The Eastchester Review
By Andrew Dapolite
With a proposed tax levy increase of only 1.62 percent, the $83.5 million Eastchester school budget passed by more than a 2-to-1 margin, as three uncontested Board of Education candidates secured three-year terms.
The 2017-2018 budget was approved by 70 percent of the total 1,096 votes that were cast by residents of the district. The budget offers a $1.5 million increase in spending over the current school year’s budget, most of which will be funded by the tax levy increase.
Bolstering this year’s spending plan will be close to $1 million in state aid secured at the eleventh hour of the state budget process. According to MaryEllen Byrne, communications coordinator for the school district, while most school districts base state aid estimates on the amount of funding received in prior years while constructing their budgets, the Eastchester school district was unhappy with the state’s previous contributions and petitioned for a higher amount.
As a result, Eastchester ended up receiving the largest increase in state funding, a total of $881,825. The last minute move resulted in the Superintendent of Schools Dr. Walter Moran releasing his proposed budget only three days prior to its required adoption.
The visible changes in the new budget include the addition of funds to pay for 2.5 new positions at both the middle school and high school levels, while reducing roughly four positions at Waverly Early Childhood Center. The district also plans to add five new varsity assistant coaches and one new athletic program: boys’ volleyball; $2.5 million is also expected to finance capital infrastructure projects at the high school and at Waverly.
According to Michelle Kissel, president of the Eastchester Board of Education, the district is appreciative of the strong show of support for the budget.
“With the passage of the budget for the 2017-2018 school year, the district can continue on its path of continuous improvement and its commitment to ensuring success for all students,” she said.
The 2017-2018 budget will go into effect on July 1, as Judah Holstein will join the Board of Education alongside re-elected trustees Vito Catania and Robert Summer at the board’s July 5 reorganization meeting.