Scarsdale school budget box 2/14 issue

At a school budget presentation Feb. 10, assistant superintendent for business Stuart Mattey announced the district’s revised proposed budget would increase slightly from previous estimates.

“Revenues go up about $320,000 and the budget is going up $25,000, a net tax levy impact, or decrease [from last week’s proposed budget], of $294,671,” said Mattey, noting a reduced rate in TRS retirement contributions from 9.75% to 9.53% and an increase of $175,000 in security equipment.

The proposed $166,875,850 budget is set to increase $6,093,253 or 3.79% from last year’s adopted budget. The tax levy is set to increase 3.31% and is $378,266 under the 3.57% tax levy cap.

The projected tax rate increase for residents of Scarsdale is 3.15% and 3.98% for residents in the town of Mamaroneck.

Plant operations in the district are set to increase $364,526 or 4.32% from last year, mostly due to increased electric usage from technology, air conditioning and new spaces, the volatility of oil and gas pricing, a $245,570 increase in safety, security and emergency management, custodial and cleaning staff payroll and staff training.

The $245,570 increase in safety, security and emergency management will include improvements to the district’s lockdown systems, the addition of gates and bollards in specified areas and the installation of additional security film in specific areas.

“We’re going around and analyzing all the buildings in the district with the help of facilities, meeting with principals and assistant principals and taking a look at where we can make certain areas of the building safer for pedestrians and of course our students,” said Mattey.

The overall budget will also fund the visitor management and building safety personnel, the consultation through Altaris Emergency Management Group, various safety and security related supplies and the visitor management software licensing fees.

Mattey said the district is working with a “security integrator” to look at the lockdown system and that the first phase of the project could occur this year.

“We’re waiting on their proposal for us, then we’ll take a look and see if that’s doable,” said Mattey.

District improvements are proposed to decrease $654,000 or 44.83%. Sixty thousand dollars is allocated for gymnasium ceiling fans in the elementary schools, $100,000 is allocated to decommission the elevator in the science wing at the high school, $585,000 is allocated districtwide for exterior painting, roof repairs and brick re-pointing, building condition survey items and asbestos abatement. Sixty thousand dollars is also allocated for renovations to the district’s bus compound.

The amount of $2.3 million has been set aside for renovations at the Scarsdale High School auditorium, which had been deferred for almost 10 years. The auditorium hasn’t been updated in 40 years.

“We did do some house lighting replacement a couple of years ago, so that has made a big difference, but also sort of shined a light [on] all the other things that sort of make the auditorium not look so good,” said Mattey.

The auditorium renovation will include replacement of all the seating and carpeting, repairing and replacing the concrete below the seats, replacing and improving the sound system, replacing and improving the light control systems, replacing and improving the stage lights, improving the rigging and replacing and improving electrical wiring.

Mattey said the district is waiting for an updated estimate on the cost of the renovation and is expecting the estimated cost to decrease.

A 2020-21 budget plan update will be presented on March 9, which will be followed by a budget forum and review on March 23. After further discussion, the board of education will vote on the proposed budget on April 30. The public vote on the budget and school board candidates will take place on May 19.

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