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Rye School Board Tweaks Budget, Restores Positions

RYE, N.Y. – The City of Rye School District presented a slightly modified version of its 2012-13 budget to members of the public and the Board of Education on Tuesday evening.

The new budget, which increases expenditures by .03 percent and lowers the tax levy from 1.96 percent to 1.95 percent restores two previously reduced clerical positions and increases the reduced number of districtwide computer aides from 2.5 full-time employees to 3. The district also announced an additional bump in state aid totaling $22,000.

All of the proposed changes do not seismically affect the district's expenditures. The figure still sits at $73.5 million for the 2012-13 school year. Although tweaks were made, the district's decision to pull $2.5 million from the $14.8 million fund balance was not one of them.

Although the 2012-13 fund balance number did not change, Assistant Supertintendent Kathleen Ryan did report that the district's actual fund balance usage in 2011-12 was about half of what was originally budgeted, culminating in a fund balance savings of approximately $1 million.

Board of Education Vice President Ray Schmitt described the district's ability to dip into the fund balance as a luxury and spoke about the importance of finding a more sustainable, long-term solution to the tax-cap levy.

"Fortunately, unlike some districts, we do have a fund balance that will allow us to be more thoughtful in our reaction to the economic realities," Schmitt said. "(However) the growing use of fund balance is not sustainable."

Although Tuesday's budget is the most up-to-date version, Ryan is expecting to present more changes, specifically to the the tax rate, at the Board's next meeting on April 18th. The State deadline for budget adoption is April 25th.

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