In this time of fiscal crisis, people may not appreciate that the proposed 3.23% Mamaroneck School budget increase represents hard and real cost cutting measures, including the reduction of more than 34 staffing positions. It’s important to understand that, because of contractual obligations involving teacher pay increases (salaries and benefits comprise 78% of the budget) and other mandated costs, if the district had proposed the exact same level of programming and staffing from this current year, the budget would have gone up over 9%!
The proposed 3.23% increase reflects more than $7 million of careful and strategic cuts across all expense areas, most notably the elimination of one administrative position, 17 teaching positions, and 17 other teaching assistant, clerical and custodian positions. (Because of retirements, resignations and leaves, only about a third of those position cuts will result in actual job losses).
As an example of how extraordinary this budget process has been, the administrators have volunteered a salary freeze for the coming year and the Mamaroneck Teachers Association has agreed to concessions to preserve the jobs of two teachers who would otherwise have lost their jobs.
Though no current teachers will be losing their jobs, the elimination of teaching positions translates to a larger student load for some teachers. The elimination of other positions, including an administrator, means that many on the staff will be working harder to maintain our current level of services. But by trimming, while not eliminating any of our programs, Dr. Fried and theMamaroneck School Board have delivered on their commitment to present an economically responsible budget that preserves our high quality educational programs.
In a similar vein, the proposed $22.1 million bond reflects a somber decision to pare down the original $38 million package of important capital projects to only that which is essential to keep the school buildings open and running.
This sum includes critical work involving the replacement of old boilers that are in danger of failing, and associated heating and ventilation systems, window replacements and roof work.
Because of the lengthy design and permit approval process, and the lead time needed to have the new boilers built, it is imperative that we pass this bond now so that we can do the work over the summer of 2010. If this bond doesn’t pass, we risk having the boilers fail and the potential closures of the Hommocks and Central schools, in addition to having to pay higher emergency repair and replacement costs.
Please support these fiscally responsible and carefully considered proposals by voting YES on the Budget and YES on the Bond.