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Croton Schools Unveil $44.5M Budget Draft

Cortlandt residents would see their tax rates rise by about 2.88 percent under the plan while Yorktown residents would see a -0.37 change in their rates.

Croton-Harmon school officials unveiled a $44,494,644 budget draft that plugs in figures from the budget proposal Gov. Andrew Cuomo's presented last month, during Tuesday's school board workshop. 

That district's spending plan would increase the tax levy by 2.76 percent to $37.4 million, which is  the maximum allowed under the state property tax cap. Cortlandt residents would see their tax rates rise by about 2.88 percent under the plan while Yorktown residents would see a -0.37 change in their rates.

That proposal is also $737,262 less than the earlier estimate of $45,231,906 official said they needed to maintain the current level of programs and services. However, thanks to a number of factors, school officials believe they're looking at budget gap of a little less than $201,000.

"We're not doing our job if we don't budget for the worse case scenario," said Ed Fuhrman, superintendent of Croton-Harmon schools. "We can't tell you one thing and then have the numbers come and you're suddenly counting on numbers that aren't there."

Fuhrman said the district was able to cut out $200,000 that officials believed may have been needed to pay for the Putnam/Northern Westchester's capital project and another $200,000 in special education costs.

District officials also plan to cut $50,000 from teacher development and are budgeting about $41,000 less for teacher pension payments, thanks to new information about the Teacher Retirement System they received.

The district's state aid allocation for next year is also higher than what was initially anticpated.

The governor's budget proposal estimates the district will receive $4,155,647 in state aid, which represents an increase of about 8 percent. But Diane Chaissan, the district's assistant superintendent for business, is estimating that the district's final state aid allocation will be about $3.9 million.

Chaisson said the governor's estimates for the district's building, transportation, private excess cost and BOCES aid are a combined $201,764 less than what the district estimates it will receive.

Although the governor's budget would see the district receive about $9,900 in Gap Elimination Adjustment funding, that still pales in comparison to the $812,726 the district has lost because of the Gap Elimination Adjustment.

The GAP Elimination Adjustment is formula that was instituted in school aid to help close the state’s budget shortfall.

The school board's next budget workshop is scheduled for Feb. 25 in Croton-Harmon High School community room. That meeting starts at 7:30 p.m.

The school board is scheduled to adopt a budget on June 11 and the public referendum on the budget is scheduled to take place May 21.



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