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Thursday, May 15, 2014
~ from the Chappaqua PTA
Are you wondering whether your voice will matter at the school district budget vote on Tuesday, May 20th? Do you think that because the Board of Education’s adopted budget stays under New York State’s tax cap that your vote is somehow less important? Are you wondering whether a “NO” vote is a good way to communicate your personal dissatisfaction with a district decision, practice or program? Have you wondered what would happen if the budget were voted down?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please take a look at the CCSD’s Budget Notice, which has been mailed to all school district households and is posted online as part of the 2014-2015 Budget Book (at numbered page 65, PDF page 67). In the Budget Notice, you will find information about the CCSD’s contingency budget, which is the budget that the district will be left with if the Board of Education’s adopted budget is ultimately voted down.
Please give careful thought to the following important information about the contingency budget when you decide whether to participate in the May 20th vote, either in person or by absentee ballot, and whether you will vote “YES” or “NO.” The budget vote is a time to consider the best interests of all of the school district’s children and your own children’s entire Chappaqua school experience.
New York State law provides a way for school districts to continue to operate even if their budgets are defeated. This is done by means of the contingency budget process.
As part of New York State’s tax cap law, the manner of calculating the contingency budget has become more draconian: If the Board of Education’s proposed budget were to be defeated, the district would now be required to adopt a contingency budget with a tax levy no greater than the previous school year’s tax levy (meaning, a 0% tax levy increase).
As noted in the CCSD’s Budget Notice, the 2014-2015 contingency budget would be $115,118,756. This sum is $1,738,232 LESS than the Board of Education’s 2014-2015 adopted budget of $116,856,988.
So, if the contingency budget were to go into effect, the CCSD would be required to make $1,738,232 in further cuts. According to the Budget Notice, reductions would be made across many areas of the budget: student supplies, certain technology and school equipment purchases, field trips, athletics, buildings & grounds and staffing.
The CCSD currently estimates that staffing cuts of $1.3 million would be required by the contingency budget, which would mean the elimination of more instructional and non-instructional positions.
The Chappaqua PTA Executive Committee has unanimously endorsed this year’s budget process and the Board of Education’s 2014-2015 adopted budget of $116,856,988 as being both educationally and fiscally responsible. But you don’t have to take our word for it. All budget presentation materials and the 2014-2015 School Budget Book are available on the school district’s website, http://www.ccsd.ws, by clicking on “Budget Information” in the “District” pull-down menu, and we invite you to educate yourself on the components of the adopted budget. If you agree, please vote “YES” on May 20th.
Because people vote “NO” on the budget for a variety of reasons, the Board of Education has no way of knowing whether people voted “NO” for any particular reason. If you have a particular complaint or grievance with the school district, there are many ways to communicate your views directly to the Board, including via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please carefully consider your avenues of redress and whether a “NO” vote would actually send the message you intend and have the potential outcome you want before you make your decision.
We hope you will join us in voting “YES” on May 20th to ensure that our school district’s excellent educational program remains intact.
Please click here for voter registration and absentee ballot information. Voter status may be checked by calling the District Clerk, Theresa Markley, at 238-7200 ext. 1002, on weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
If you have previously registered to vote, but have not voted in either a school district or general election in the last four years, you must re-register to vote.
The last day to register to vote is Thursday, May 15th.
To vote absentee, you must first complete an absentee ballot application before you can obtain a ballot. Applications for absentee ballots may be downloaded from the school district’s website or picked up in person from the District Clerk’s office at the CCSD Education Center, 66 Roaring Brook Road.
The last day for in-person pick-up and submission of an absentee ballot application is Monday, May 19th.
All absentee ballots must be received by the District Clerk by 5:00 pm on Tuesday, May 20th.
The vote on the school budget will take place on Tuesday, May 20th between 7:00am and 9:00pm in the Horace Greeley High School Gymnasium. Designated voter parking spots near the gym will be available.