The Rye City School budget and two open board seats are coming up for vote on Tuesday, May 17, 2011. Recently the school district published an overview of its proposed budget and we are publishing it here on MyRye.com for your perusal and comment. The teacher is watching, so be polite.
2011-2012 Budget Information
The Rye City School District Board of Education adopted its proposed 2011-2012 budget on April 12, 2011. After considerable discussion regarding the budget and District needs, the Board unanimously approved a proposed budget of $71,908,000, with an estimated tax rate increase of 2.52%.
There are three major elements to the RCSD budget: revenue (including property and non-property tax revenue), nine budget drivers, and the Board-adopted expenditure plan (budget) which supports the District's educational program. This communication will focus on revenue and budget drivers. A future communication will describe the budget and its priorities.
The budget will be voted on by the community on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in the Middle School gym, with polling hours from 7:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m.
State aid is expected to decline by $334,211 (-11%); however, that reduction is offset by increases in non-property tax revenue, yielding a net revenue reduction of $55,210 (-1%).
Areas of non-property tax revenue expected to decrease include county sales tax revenues, border tax receipts, PILOT revenue, interest income, and federal reimbursement for Medicaid eligible services. Areas of non-tax revenue expected to increase are health service charges to other districts for nursing services provided at Resurrection School and Rye Country Day School, non-resident tuitions, and miscellaneous revenues.
The tax levy is projected to increase 1.78%. This is the revenue that supports 92.5% of the budget.
Enrollment and Staffing
The October 2010 K-12 projected enrollment was 3,135. The actual enrollment reported to the State Education Department and to the Board of Education was 3,175, a 40 student increase. In February 2011 the enrollment had grown to 3,207, an unusual growth of 32 students during the school year, most of which was at the elementary school level. In October 2010, the September 2011 enrollment projection was 3,204. Since we are already over that number, we will be watching kindergarten enrollment and the in-and-out migration of elementary school students very carefully. Seventy-seven (77) homeroom teacher sections are included in the 2011-12 budget for the 1,546 students presently enrolled in the elementary schools, an average class size of 20.
To support the educational program with projected enrollment increases, the budget includes the addition of 1 FTE high school teacher, 4.4 FTE middle school teachers, and one new special education teacher position off-set by other position reductions, as well as a 0.2 FTE Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) position.
Contracted Staff Compensation
The District has collective bargaining agreements with five units, which are listed below with their corresponding impact:
Rye Administrators Association – 1.5% increase
Rye Teachers Association – Step increase, plus 1%
Rye Secretarial, Clerical, School Nurse and Computer Aide Unit – In mediation
Rye Teacher Aides and Teaching Assistants Unit – 3.3% increase
Rye Custodial Unit – Step increase, plus 1%
Non-Represented Employees' compensation is determined by the Board of Education on an annual basis, based upon performance.
The budget supports the continuation of the Grades 1-12 Spanish program, expanded Mandarin at the Middle School and High School, and funds for new Grade 7 math materials.
Support for Instruction and Staff Development
The budget supports training for all teachers in the new elementary mathematics program and in various aspects of ELA instruction, as well as staff development and mentoring of teachers.
Health Insurance Premiums and Retirement Benefits Rise
The District has been advised to expect an 8% increase in health insurance premiums in 2011-2012. The District will face a rate increase of 33% in mandatory contributions to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) and 53% to the Employees' Retirement System (ERS). Mandatory District contributions to the two State retirement plans are 11.2%-13.8% of employee pay to the Employee Retirement System (ERS) and 11.11% to the Teacher Retirement System (TRS).
Costs Increase for Educational and Support Services to Students with Special Needs
In New York State, every child is legally entitled to have a free and appropriate education. In Rye, 219 students require special educational programming – 27 of whom need programs so specialized that the District cannot provide them in its schools. In these cases, the District is responsible under federal and state law to pay out-of-district tuition and expenses of related support services. The District faces an 8% increase in Special Education and Support Services costs in 2011-2012.
The technology budget includes necessary infrastructure, innovations and equipment, and a recommendation to phase-in wireless technology for the Middle and High Schools.
Debt Service Payments Increase
The 15- and 20-year bonds approved by the voters via referendum continue to be paid off. Debt service costs will increase slightly – by $52,380 – for the 2011-2012 school year.
Capital Projects/Facilities and Utility Costs
The proposed budget includes $1,220,000 for capital projects. Within this total is $220,000 for the addition of a portable classroom unit (2 classrooms) at the High School, $300,000 for previously identified District-wide capital projects, and $700,000 for prioritized facility needs of the Middle School and High School.
The District anticipates utility cost changes, as Con Edison will increase the electricity delivery component of its bills by 14%.