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Mamaroneck School Board Cuts Another $1M From Budget

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – Transportation services will be fully outsourced in the coming school year, according to the Mamaroneck School Board and administration, which presented the updated 2012-2013 recommended budget Tuesday night.

The updated budget includes an additional $1,039,255 in cuts, $819,225 of which are a result of full outsourcing. In the recommended budget, an additional $200,000 would be saved in health insurance and $20,000 in the reassignment of hall monitors at Mamaroneck High School.

Fully outsourcing transportation would result in the loss of 37 employees, including one mechanic, 23 part-time bus drivers and 12 part-time monitors. One custodian/bus driver will be reassigned to fill an anticipated vacancy in the custodial staff beginning July 1.  Ardsley Bus Company, which the school will contract with, has said it would consider hiring current district employees, according to schools Superintendent Robert Shaps.

"The board is faced with difficult choices this year that we know will impact people's lives," Robin Nichinsky, president of the board, said. "At the same time we are mindful of our primary mission, which is to provide the best possible education for the students of this district, consistent with the needs of our taxpayers."

As a result of those cuts, the tax rate would drop from 3.43 percent to 2.43 percent, based on the latest information from the town and projections. Based on an averaged assessed home of $20,000, homeowners would see a $371.74 increase in their tax bill.

In a letter sent out to the community March 29, Shaps said he and the board will not include the move to public transportation for private schools in the 2012-2013 budget, pending further study.

At the board's March 24 line-by-line budget review, it asked Shaps to go back and look for more potential savings, mindful that a 3.43 percent tax hike may be too high in the eyes of the public, despite falling within the allowable level under the tax levy cap.

After Tuesday's meeting, the board again asked that Shaps look for more potential savings. Similarly, the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC), an independent advisory committee to the board, suggested the same.

"The CFAC overwhelmingly recommended to the board that a 3-plus percent increase in taxes was simply unacceptable," said John Sacks, a member of CFAC.

If the public doesn't pass the budget when they vote May 15, the tax levy – the total amount of taxes collected from the community – would revert back to the 2011-2012 level. This would represent a $1,176,893 reduction, which is equivalant to approximately 11 teaching jobs, Shaps said.

The board will vote to adopt the budget April 17.

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