Elmsford School Board Trims, Approves Proposed Budget

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The Elmsford Union Free School District proposes a $31 million budget for the 2014-15 school year. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore
A pie chart of the projected expenditures for the 2014-15 school year in the Elmsford Union Free School District.
A pie chart of the projected expenditures for the 2014-15 school year in the Elmsford Union Free School District. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

ELMSFORD, N.Y. -- The Elmsford Union Free School District Board of Education voted Wednesday, April 2,  to approve the 2014-15 proposed budget of $31.1 million with a slight increase year-over-year from the 2013-14 budget.

The proposed budget of $32,111,848 is up $768,703 (3.45 percent) over last year's $31,343.145 as Board of Education members worked to trim the budget without cutting programs or staffing.

First-year Superintendent Joseph Ricca presented the budget, which was recently cut from the first-proposed 2.45 percent tax levy increase to 0.98 percent, the lowest increase in several years for the district.

The proposed 2014-15 district budget was built “from the ground up” and meets all of the goals set forth by the Board of Education and the Elmsford Union Free School District community," Ricca said. "This year’s budget proposes the lowest tax levy increase in years at 0.98 percent. The proposed budget falls well below the property tax cap and still maintains 100 percent of our student programming, both academic and extracurricular."

The board also offered a second proposition that will appear on the ballot requesting voter approval to transfer $500,000 from the tax certiorari reserve to the capital reserve. The transfer will gave no impact on the proposed budget or the proposed tax levy.

"This transfer of funding will allow for the maintenance and support of the district’s buildings and infrastructure," Ricca said. "As you know, at present, the district does not have a capital reserve. This transfer will allow the district to attend to the maintenance of the facilities and unforeseen infrastructural challenges.

The board's approval is the first step toward the budget election day set for Tuesday, May 20. 

"The board has worked very hard to put forth a budget that supports our students and maintains our commitment to fiscal responsibility," Ricca said. "Although we can't predict having this level of increase every year, we are doing our best to show taxpayers that we understand their concerns."

Ricca explained that prior to constructing the proposed budget, the district identified over $230,000 in reductions. Moving forward, applied fund balance and an increase in Gap Elimination Adjustment Restoration Aid was used to further reduce the proposed tax levy.

The 2014-15 budget includes:

• Preservation of all academic offerings.

• Preservation of the Dual Language Program.

• Support for the arts and athletics.
• Support for a needed playground at Dixson Primary School.
• Support to maintain class size.
• Support of the district’s technological and physical infrastructure.
• Support of electives and advanced learning opportunities at the high school.

• Reorganization and savings within the district’s administration.
• Shared service and cooperative service partnerships.

The board will hold meetings through the May 20 vote on the budget and welcomes input from the community.

For specific details on the budget proposal expenditures log on to the school's website budget page.

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Comments (4)

I do pay Elmsford taxes, and my grand daughter is in the school system. I know how expensive it is to own a home in this town. But I really do think that this budget is responsible. I want to see some control when it comes to spending, but I don't want to lose the programs our kids need or see their class sizes grow out of control. This budget does that. I'm new to this whole posting thing and I'm not trying to debate with people. I guess what I'm saying is I'm willing to support this budget because I've never seen one this good before.

I am not trying to debate either - just stating my feelings. Controlled spending, as you mentioned, is a good thing. The portions of the budget which we can not control is what bothers myself and all of my neighbors; i.e . pensions and benefits! That's what drives the school budget up every year. Most people would have loved to have received a raise of 3%-4% for the last 5 years..........

I am so happy to read this article. It sounds like a dream come true! First of all, we don't lose any programs for the kids and second of all it's the lowest tax increase I can remember. It's obvious that the board of ed put a lot of thought and effort into this. I just hope the community can get behind this so that it passes.

If you DON'T pay Elmsford School District Taxes, it is easy to realize why one would be happy; If you DO pay Elmsford School District Taxes, how can one ever be happy!! It is just insane that our taxes keep going up. The time will come soon when the bank is going to break. This path will become unsustainable. Then what?