White Plains schools are bracing for another difficult budget year, as school officials say they will need to consider an estimated $2 million in budget cuts to remain under the 2 percent tax cap in 2013-14.
Proposed cuts in federal aid and increased pension costs are expected to again be two of the largest obstacles the district faces for next year.
“Next year’s budget will be a tremendous challenge," said White Plains Board of Education President Rosemarie Eller, "responding to the state-imposed
2 percent property tax levy cap, in addition to the difficult economic situation."
As officials crunch the numbers, several public meetings have been scheduled so the district can hear feedback from parents and residents before the budget is finalized this spring. Two public meetings have already been announced and will be held on Jan. 16 and March 20 at White Plains High School. Those meetings are open to the public and will take place at 7:30 p.m. in room B-1.
There will also be an information session in the White Plains Library on March 17 at 3 p.m. All residents are invited to participate in each meeting, which will include a focused dialogue on spending efficiencies, areas of concern, budget priorities and creative ways to increase revenues. A review of the district’s financial situation, the state’s and city’s financial constraints, and other issues relating to development of the budget will also be presented.
Any community group or organization that would like to host a budget discussion is also encouraged to contact the district.
“We hope to work together with the community to develop a budget that maintains the high quality of education in White Plains and that is fiscally responsible and can be supported by the taxpayers in the May 21st vote,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Chris Clouet.
The preliminary 2013-14 budget will be presented during a public hearing on March 18 at 7:30 p.m. The adopted proposed budget will be presented on May 13. Each of those meetings will be held at the Education House at 5 Homeside Lane at 7:30 p.m.
More information and updates will also be made available on the district's website.