ELMSFORD, N.Y. As the 2012-2013 budget season jumps forward, the Elmsford School District looks to reassure the public that its voice will be heard.
Last year's budget was approximately $30 million. While a draft budget for the upcoming year has not yet been assembled, Elmsford's board of education aims to include the public in their decisions.
"We listen to what they have to say," said Matthew Evans, school board president. "And when you listen to what they have to say, you will respond to them in a formal way that addresses their concerns and makes sure that they know that you understand what they are saying. People are looking for their concerns to be addressed, and they are looking to know that you, as a governing body and as a school district, value their opinion."
The board will look to expand the schools' ACE programs, geared towards giving children a college experience in conjunction with Westchester Community College. They will also expand their AP offerings by adding an AP psychology course, among a few others.
"It's been a priority for us," Evans said. "It's something we have had as a goal for a couple of years now. We were able to walk into the last school year with anatomy and physiology, a forensics course and a graphic novel course. They really allow for students to expand their horizons and find new interests. It has been great."
Throughout January, the board will review their staff, equipment, furniture and any special requests. On Feb, 17, they will receive the draft budget, and will make their first budget presentation at a March 3 public board meeting. The preliminary budget will be adopted in April and made available to the public. A public hearing will be held on May 2. The final budget vote will occur on May 15.
"We're always focused on student achievement," said Evans. "The community knows we are not doing this behind closed doors and are not trying to hide anything from them. We hammer through it together."
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