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Chappaqua to Vote on School, Library Budgets Tuesday

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Chappaqua residents will vote Tuesday on a $112,202,888 budget for the 2012-13 school year for the Chappaqua Central School District and a $2,842,839 budget for the Chappaqua Library.

The adopted district budget, which falls within the state-mandated 2 percent tax levy cap, includes a final levy of $101,032,134, a 2.11 percent increase from the previous year. Under the adopted budget, property taxes in the town of New Castle portion of the district would increase 1.63 percent and in the town of Mount Pleasant portion they would rise 9.60 percent.

While the budget shows a spending increase of $754,400, or 0.68 percent, the tax levy increase is larger at $2,087,552 due to a $350,000 reduction in federal aid, a projected enrollment decline of 17 students, increases in teachers and administrators contracts, a 3 percent increase in health-insurance premiums, a 2.6 percent increase in the employee-retirement system, equalization rates and more.

To make it under the cap, the district cut a net total of 10.64 positions. While 12.8 full-time positions were cut, two core curriculum teachers were added to Seven Bridges Middle School and a part-time Chinese teacher was added to Horace Greeley High School. The cuts bring the district's total cuts to 87.86 since 2009.

The district is also using $3 million from its fund balance, which consists of already-paid taxpayer dollars that was set aside by the district for potential claims, liability, retirement contributions, repairs, tax certioraris, and more.

The budget for the Chappaqua Library, which is owned by the school district, shows a total spending increase of 2.75 percent to $2,842,839. The tax levy would increase by 2.82 percent, to $2,775,839. Library Director Pamela Thornton said the figure still complies with the cap because of exemptions in benefits and pension.

If the budgets are not approved by voters, the district has the option of offering revised budgets for a re-vote on June 19, or it can immediately adopt contingency budgets that caps spending by using a state formula. The contingency budget is defined by the state as expenditures "absolutely necessary" to operate and maintain schools.

Also included on the ballot, incumbent Board of Education President Alyson Kiesel will be running unopposed for a second three-year term.

A open seat on the library's board will be voted on as well. However, no candidates filed an petition to appear on the ballot, so the district will be accepting write-in candidates. The board consists of five members with five-year terms, with one seat expiring per year.

Voting will take place Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Horace Greeley High School gym.

Stay with The Daily Chappaqua throughout the day on Tuesday for updates and for results as they are made available.

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