By CHRIS EBERHART
As it is now, the Bronxville School District’s proposed $46.3 million school budget for the 2014-2015 school year would exceed the state-imposed tax cap.
The first draft of the budget was released during a Feb. 1 budget workshop, so the budget is still in its infancy at this point with projections and estimates, but early tallies indicate a 2.2 percent tax levy increase, which exceeds the 1.88 percent state-imposed tax cap by $107,000.
“The goal between now and when the budget is adopted [on April 22] is to get under the cap,” said Dan Carlin, Bronxville’s assistant superinten-dent of business. “We’re keeping an eye on kindergarten enrollment because that’s the toughest grade to project. If the enrollment goes significantly above our projections, we’re going to have to add more expenditure.”
Carlin said the school district is quickly approaching the projected 96-student kindergarten enrollment, which could cause the budget to increase depending on the number of additional students enrolled. He said there’s also a slight chance the enrollment slows and stays under the projections, which would allow the district to make cuts in order to reduce the tax levy.
While the tax levy is at 2.2 percent, the overall budget-to-budget increase is 2.35 percent, 2 percent of which is comprised of rising salaries and state mandated contributions to the teacher retirement system, according to Carlin.
As of now, Carlin said, salaries are at $24.5 million, a 2 percent increase over the current budget, which equals a 1.1 percent increase to the overall budget. The contributions to the retirement system are at $4.5 million, which is an 11 percent increase over the current 2013-2014 budget and equals a .95 percent increase to the proposed budget.
The school district is also con-tending with increasing enrollment numbers.
Since the 2011-2012 school year, enrollment has jumped by 12 percent, which includes an increase of 82 students during the 2013-2014 school year and nine more projected in 2014-2015.
With regard to enrollment, Bronxville Superintendent David Quattrone said in a released statement about the budget, “The board probed extensively, the plans for dealing with enrollment increases, raising questions about the projections, class size and other staffing options.”
In order to meet the demands of a rising student population, the board added a kindergarten teacher in the current year’s budget and the current budget includes an additional 1.7 teacher positions, according to Carlin, which he explained includes a part-time position and added sections, or classes, for already employed teachers. Additional sections include one in second grade—resulting in an estimated class size of 21—two in English and two in math in the middle school; and rotating electives in the high school.
With the district’s goal to lower its budget under the tax cap, Carlin said it will comb through the budget and look for areas to cut.
“What we will cut,” Carlin said, “we don’t know yet. That’s what we’ll be doing between now and April.”
The board will adopt the budget on April 22 and it will be put to a public vote on May 20.