School Board adopts Budget of $118,686,686 for 2001-2002.
Public hearing: May 7. Budget Vote: May 15.
By John F. Bailey
CityLine: April 19, 2001: Education House
The City of White Plains School Board adopted the proposed 2001-2002 School Budget Wednesday evening unanimously, paving the way for the first Public Hearing on the Budget May 7. The Budget will be presented to voters for approval on May 15. This reporter and a candidate running for a position on the School Board, Susan Kirkpatrick were the only non-school district personnel attending.
The budget of $118,686,686 presents a tax rate increase of 7.9%, according to Richard Lasselle, Assistant Superintendent for Business, up from the $109,954,954 budgeted this year. This increase results in a $300.71 rate per $1,000 of accessed valuation for White Plains residents.
Lasselle noted that the next step in the state-mandated budget process is to e-mail a Property Tax Report Card to the State Department of Education Thursday, April 19. The Report card for White Plains will read:
7.9% Budget to Budget Increase
Lasselle said the School District plans a newsletter discussing the new budget to help residents understand what the figures mean will be sent to all subscribers of The White Plains Watch, and the same newsletter will be mailed to all residents by May 1. Information will also be on display on the School District website at: www.wpesd.k12.ny.us.
Members of the Board discussed the fears they have that the public will misunderstand the notification the School District is required to mail to residents after the May 7 hearing and before the election and budget vote on May 15.
This communication, mandated by the state requires the School District to send out a simple card to voters stating the proposed school budget, and the change in the budget from the previous year, broken down into three categories: Programs, Administration and Capital expenditures, juxtaposed with the savings if the district were to adapt an "Austerity Budget." There is also a statement showing the STAR savings for a house with a full market value of $100,000, which is a maximum of $1,500.
Lasselle said he feared residents receiving the card would assume that they would receive $1,500 for each $100,000 of full market value their house had. Lasselle pointed out "There are no $100,000 homes in White Plains."
Lasselle advised that the White Plains resident pays 7% per $1,000 of the accessed value of their home. To illustrate this, Lasselle said that if there was a $100,000 home in White Plains, it would be accessed at $7,000.
The Assistant Superintendent for Business also said that in the new budget, the typical taxpayer whom Lasselle described as a resident whose home is accessed at $15,000 would pay less taxes.
The members of the board wondered about placing an asterisk on the "Report Card" they send out to residents, referring the reader to the district's website or for a newsletter to explain this possible confusion, and the increments of the budget increase.
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