Student Adviser’s Job Restored In Revised Mamaroneck School Budget

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Schools Superintendent Robert Shaps presented revisions to his 2014-15 recommended budget.
Schools Superintendent Robert Shaps presented revisions to his 2014-15 recommended budget. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

MAMARONECK, N.Y. – A 29-year-old student adviser’s position has been restored in the Mamaroneck school superintedent’s recommended 2014-15 budget thanks to a combination of increased revenues, reduced expenses and strong community support.

Keith Yizar has acted as a bridge to the community for the school district and kept countless high school students from falling through the cracks in his tenure, wrote Harold Wolfson in a letter to School Superintendent Robert Shaps.

“There has certainly been a number of letters coming in to advocate for the restoration of that position,” Shaps said at the April 7 Board of Education meeting. “My commitment would be to look at that for this upcoming year and, similar to all positions, revisit it as we have to make difficult decisions moving forward.”

In addition to Yizar’s position, four-and-a-half full-time equivalent (FTE) teacher aides positions were restored out of the seven cut in the original budget proposal. The seven positions made up about $100,000 and restoring 4.5 will add back $84,133.

Shaps said this will help keep small group instruction intact for the first year of full-day kindergarten.

The full-time audio visual technician position – or 1.0 FTE - that was cut to a .25 FTE has been made a half-time position – or .5 FTE – for another $27,000.

Because of an additional $183,002 in state aid and $15,000 in interest revenue, and $545,000 reduction in expenses, the district had $743,002 to work with. 

“We had a nice surprise last week. The sewer tax bill from the Town of Mamaroneck was significantly lower than expected due to revaluation,” said Meryl Rubenstein, assistant superintendent for business operations. “We called the town just to make sure that it wasn’t an error and we weren’t going to receive a supplemental bill. So we can reduce that line item for next year’s budget by $283,000.”

The $60,000 expense of pre-kindergarten transportation will now be covered by a grant.

“So, that’s another $345,000 that we have reduced from the budget that we presented without really doing anything,” Rubenstein said. 

Additionally, a community member donated to the board $200,000 to be used to pay for CO-OP Camp

The district added back a total of $705,794 to the budget. That also includes restoring Mamaroneck High School summer school and Regents testing in August; elementary and middle school summer camp, known as CO-OP Camp; a $120,000 special education contingency; and yellow bus transportation for grades six through eight and eligible private and parochial schools.

As a result the tax levy was reduced by $37,208 to $115,288,418, or 1.77 percent. This still falls under the state mandated cap on the property tax levy.

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Congrats to Keith - he has been an asset to the community - and especially the youth - for many years. Congrats also to Dr Shaps for having an open minded approach that let him countermand the previous ridiculus decision. In the end, all are winners - especially the young people that look up to Keith - both figuratively and literally!

Many thanks to Dr. Shaps and the entire Mamaroneck School Board for restoring Keith Yizar's position in the upcoming budget. The value he adds to the district; behind-the-scenes to countless students, and to building good will in the local community, was well-worth preserving.