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Mamaroneck School Board Takes Final Look at Budget

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – The Mamaroneck School Board will meet for a study session Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., which will be the final public meeting addressing the budget before it is adopted April 17.

The 2012-13 proposed $125,335,122 budget has elicited parent concern over the proposed move to public transportation for grades six through twelve students attending private and parochial schools, as well as the full outsourcing of all school district transportation.

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

The board and administration, however, are also concerned about getting the budget passed. When the public votes on the budget May 15 at the local schools, the board said it wants to provide the lowest tax rate possible.

The full outsourcing of transportation would lower the tax rate from 3.43 percent to 2.65 percent, said Meryl Rubenstein, assistant superintendent of business operations for the Mamaroneck School District. For homeowners with an average assessed valuation of $20,000, their school taxes would drop from $525 to about $400, said Linnet Tse, a trustee who has decided not to seek reelection to the school board.

If the public doesn't pass the budget, the tax levy – the total amount of taxes collected from the community – would revert back to the 2011-2012 level, leaving the district unable to meet many of its obligations.

Like Tse, several board members expressed concern that, without changes to transportation, a 3.43 percent tax hike would be too high to achieve the public's vote.

"You're taking a big chance to not get a tax rate that you think the community would pass," said Trustee Nancy Pierson, contemplating a budget without these changes. "I would ask to have us lower our numbers."

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