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White Plains School Budget Adds Two Elementary School Teachers

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – White Plains School District administrators announced Monday that the superintendent's proposed $188,148,795 budget adds two elementary school teachers to accommodate higher enrollment, while outlining the 2012-13 fiscal plan.

Fred Seiler, assistant superintendent for business, said the only staffing changes proposed involve moving teacher assistants into special education classrooms, budgeting a part-time employee for AVID – a middle school program designed to push children on the cusp of advanced courses into more rigorous classes, a part-time employee for the engineering program Project Lead the Way, and increased staffing at elementary schools.

"Once again, we're looking at an increase of another 60 or 70 students and that's starting to push the class sizes up in the 26-27 range in a couple of classes. At this point, we're looking at adding two additional elementary school teachers," said Seiler.

The superintendent's preliminary budget, which is 1.74 percent larger than the current fiscal plan, suggests reversing a budget decision last year that cut all elementary school librarians to part-time. If passed, the budget would provide a full-time librarian at all five primary schools.

Seiler said administrators planned to shell out $33,000 for the Manhattanville Tutoring program "that's been very successful" with high schoolers after federal and state grants no longer covered it.

The proposed budget conforms to the property tax cap law, which forbids districts from raising the tax levy more than 2 percent without 60 percent of voters approving the budget. After calculating exceptions, the district’s spending plan would increase the total amount of money collected in property taxes by 2.07 percent.

Seiler estimated the $156,756,340 levy would bump up the property tax rate by about 1 percent and cost the average homeowner about $200 more than last year.

Nobody spoke at the public hearing on the budget, however, Seiler encouraged parents, teachers and residents to share their opinions at the March 14 and 21 budget forums.

“The superintendent has gathered input from many individuals in this process here, but it's not the final budget,” he said. “That's why it's important to get some of your input before the vote.”

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