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School Budget & Board Vote is Tuesday

Rye High School Nugent Stadium 2020

The annual vote for the Rye City School District budget and board is this Tuesday, May 17th. The single polling place is the Rye Middle School Gymnasium located at 3 Parsons Street and voting hours are 6am to 9pm.

MyRye.com will carry the election results as soon as they are made available after polls close Tuesday evening.

The proposed annual budget is just under $99.5 million dollars, a 5.56% increase. Jennifer Boyle and Jane Anderson, both currently Board of Education members, are running for reelection unopposed.

The Board of Ed sent this letter to the community earlier in May explaining the budget up for vote:

The Rye City School District Board of Education and administration bring to the community an annual budget for the 2022-2023 school year that is tax cap-compliant and funds an educational program for an anticipated enrollment of 2,874 students. The budget represents a 3.97% tax levy increase and a 5.56% budget-to-budget increase over last year. This year the vote will take place on Tuesday, May 17, in person at the Rye Middle School Gym between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.

Similar to years past, 78% of the 2022-23 School District budget goes towards salaries and benefits for our faculty and staff who have shown immense dedication and agility educating students during the second year of the global pandemic. The budget maintains all programs, supports small class sizes, and continues expansion of the District’s newly-established mental health support program and instructional pathways.

The budget funds data-driven instruction guided by the K-8 NWEA assessments administered three times per year, year three of our partnership with Yale’s Haskins Lab to improve and expand how we deliver phonics and phonetics instruction, the K-8 Singapore Math program, the Project Lead the Way Engineering and Robotics pathway (now at the Middle School and the High School), and The Academy at Rye High School, the District’s alternative High School which focuses on Project-Based Learning. It provides support for the District’s technology needs, including student and teacher devices and new fiber cabling, switches, and WiFi points for faster data transmission. In addition, it funds debt service payment for the District’s Capital Project which has resulted in secure vestibule entrances at every school, the new turf field and track at Nugent Stadium, HVAC upgrades to improve fresh air ventilation across all buildings, boiler replacement at Milton School, the High School, and Middle School, roof repairs, bathroom renovations, and ADA-compliance work.

Our youth are experiencing a very real mental health crisis, and it has been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic. Here in Rye, RyeACT (Rye Action for Children and Teens) reports that their February 2021 survey of Rye students showed a 25% increase in suicidal ideation among middle school students and a 15% increase among high school students since their last survey in the fall of 2018. To continue to address this critical need, the 2022-23 budget maintains student mental health services established this year, including two contractual clinical counselors at Rye High School and Rye Middle School and a second full-time elementary school counselor who will rotate between Midland, Milton, and Osborn Schools. It also funds a Therapeutic Support Services social worker who will provide acute mental health support and transitional services for students and families.

The budget also provides funding for the District’s special education program by adding a special education teacher and a teaching assistant to extend the District’s Life Skills program, currently at the elementary and Middle School, into the High School. It also adds one full-time elementary special education teacher for the District’s Integrated Co-Teaching program.

Due to four net staff reductions, the new employees result in only a 1.8 full-time equivalent staffing increase.

A second proposition on the ballot is to use lunch fund reserve monies to fund an HVAC project in the High School Cafeteria. The authorization for use of lunch fund reserves is a tax-neutral proposition and results in no additional cost to taxpayers. The District regularly uses surplus lunch funds to repair cafeteria equipment (for example, the Milton School stove in 2019) and facilities (for example, the RHS cafeteria floor replacement in 2012).

We are immensely proud of the teaching and learning that has taken place completely in-person in our schools this year. None of it would be possible without the dedication and professionalism of our teachers, staff, and administrators and the continued support of parents and the Rye community. Please vote Tuesday, May 17, from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the Rye Middle School Gym. Voting is in-person this year, unless you fill out an application to request an absentee ballot.

Sincerely,

Rye City School District Board of Education
Jennifer Boyle, President
Jane Anderson, Vice President
Callie Erickson, Kelsey Johnson, Vivek Kamath, Chris Repetto, Tom Stein

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