White Plains School Budget Adds Officer, Teacher, Increases Taxes

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White Plains Superintendent Timothy Connors welcomes residents to the League of Women Voters candidate forum. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Rosemarie Eller. left, is the president of the White Plains school board.
Rosemarie Eller. left, is the president of the White Plains school board. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
White Plains school board candidates Rosemarie Eller and Randy Stein give opening statements at the League of Women Voters candidate forum May 8. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
White Plains school board candidates Rosemarie Eller and Randy Stein answer audience questions at the League of Women Voters candidate forum May 8. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Homeowners with an average assessed home of $15,000 would pay $255.15 more in school taxes under the White Plains School District’s 2014-15 adopted budget, which residents will vote on May 20.

The 2.92 percent increase equates to $600.22 per $1,000 of assessed value on a home.

The $199.9 million budget proposes spending $6.5 million more, or 3.36 percent, than last year’s budget. It increases the tax levy, which is the total amount of taxes collected from the community, 2.55 percent. This is greater than the state-mandated cap on tax levy growth, but the district is still in compliance because of the $1 million in additional state aid it received.

That brings the total projected state aid for 2014-2015 to $17.86 million.

The budget adds a second security resource officer for $100,000 and one elementary teacher to keep average class sizes to less than 22 students. Increased expenses it could not control include employee health care, which went up $1.85 million and pensions, which went up $1.22 million.

“Our goal this year, during a challenging economic environment, was to strike an appropriate balance between the concerns of taxpayers and to maintain a cohesive and effective instructional program,” said Rosemarie Eller, White Plains school board president .

Eller participated with Trustee Dr. Robin Stein in a League of Women Voters candidate forum on May 8. Both are running uncontested for re-election and will be on the ballot May 20, along with the budget.

Eller has served on the board for nine years and is its current president. She works at Pfizer Inc. and collects drug safety data for analysis. She has a bachelor’s degree in science with a minor in education and holds teacher certification.

“The greatest challenge is shrinking state aid, which has forced the board to make difficult budgetary decisions,” she said. “In light of the challenges, the board has found innovative ways to supplement and maintain quality instruction.”

Stein has served in the school board for six years. She is an endocrinologist with WESTMED Medical Group in White Plains and holds a bachelor’s degree from SUNY Albany and her medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

“Continuity in the board is particularly important when we are picking a new superintendent,” she said. “My children had an extraordinary education and I want to see the next generation of White Plains students have that same opportunity.”

The budget vote is May 20 from noon to 9 p.m.

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