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Mamaroneck School Budget Passes Easily: 66% Vote Yes

The 2010-2011 budget for the Mamaroneck School District passed on Tuesday, May 18 with 66% of the vote. As noted by Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried, the “yes” vote carried in all four elementary school districts.

OFFICIAL RESULTS: Updated May 21, 2010

“We’re thrilled with the result,” said Linnet Tse, president of the Mamaroneck School Board. “I think we had a fiscally responsible budget, and our community supported it.”

“It was an exceptionally thoughtful budget,” said Dr. Fried, “the community participated as they never have before.”

Both the turnout and the margin of victory were in keeping with results from most votes in the last ten years. (See chart below.) Only one budget has been defeated (2007) and most budgets have been approved by over 60% of voters (except for 2004, during a period of controversy over moving the Kemper Memorial Park).

The smiles said it all: Superintendent Dr. Paul Fried and Board President Linnet Tse announced the results of the school budget vote on Tuesday evening, May 18.

This year’s process included months of meetings in which the administration and board described the unusually difficult economic climate and the level of cuts that would be needed to bring in a budget acceptable to a majority of taxpayers. There were a number of preliminary budget proposals and many ideas were dropped or modified on the basis of community feedback.

The final budget of $122 million came with a budget-to-budget increase of 1.22% and a tax rate increase of 2.08%, the smallest in at least forty years. The 2010-2011 budget for the Mamaroneck School District passed with 66% of the vote.

SCHOOL BOARD: The school board election was uncontested. Nancy Pierson, a long-term PTA leader and community volunteer, was re-elected to the board with a vote of 2568. Newcomer Matthew Schoengood, the vice president for student affairs at the City of New York Graduate Center, got 2408 votes and will replace Janet Buchbinder who is finishing her second three-year term.

SELECTION COMMITTEE: Few voters participated in the balloting for members of the Committee to Select Nominees for the Mamaroneck School Board, which is independent of the district but conducts its elections at the local elementary schools on the same day as the budget and board vote.  The committee recruits, vets and endorses candidates for school board in Mamaroneck. The 9 candidates, who were running unopposed, received the following votes. Central: Thomas Eaton 92, Alexandra Leach 93; Chatsworth: Erin Fuller 102, John Hewson 101, Darcy Katris 99; Mamaroneck Avenue: Laurette Costa 50, Janine Montoni 51;  Murray: Robin Gensburg 156, Rachel Goldman 156.

Voter Turnout: 2001-2010


Total Vote

Approval %

2010 3408 66%
2009 3140 68%
2008 2958 68%
2007-II 4724 73%
2007-I 2730 39%
2006 2372 61%
2005 3428 61%
2004 2964 51%
2003 2084 77%
2002 1701 67%
2001 2809 70%

According to the Journal News, budgets passed in most Westchester school districts. Budgets were defeated in Pocantico Hills (with a proposed 13.89% tax increase), Ossining (4.43%), Katonah-Lewisboro (3.69%) and Mount Vernon (where cuts in State aid helped contribute to a proposed 7.82%% tax rate increase).

Westchester School District budget data reported to the NY State Department of Education. Click for larger view.

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9 comments to Mamaroneck School Budget Passes Easily: 66% Vote Yes

  • Fast Eddie

    Looks like the Tea Party lost its fizz. I thought NY was going to become another NJ with rejections everywhere. In these parts, the vocal minority speaks loudly, but the motivated majority votes.

    • Sushi Says

      NY is an anomaly – the Tea Party unfortunately is gaining momentum – only because as anger and ignorance increases, so does the popularity of such parties prevail.

      It’s not unlike supply and demand – in that when people feel they are losing ground, the demand for change arises.

  • bobo

    Congrats to those that voted in favor of this budget, you won by an overwhelming majority. The reason why I voted no was that I feel the school board is completely out of touch with how tax payers feel(by today’s vote maybe I am wrong). But this board will also negotiate the next MTA contract, and by looking at the last few contracts all I see is more raises for all. How many jobs in the private sector over the past 3 years have offered 3%+ annual raises, tenure, fully funded pensions, and paid up medical upon retirement??
    And we have no say in the contract negotiations, the budget vote is our only chance to say no. Maybe residents should get to vote on all union contracts offered in the future.
    When will the nonsense end?

  • the people have spoken

    Looks like NY taxpayers are a loyal bunch. If I were Gov, I would revise budget proposals and go for tax hikes rather than expenses cuts. 2010/11 community outreach is only a few months away, let the fun end and begin !

  • concerned parent

    I was torn about this vote since I thought the board did the best it could under the circumstances, but the conditions imposed by the teachers contract are absurd in this economy (actually absurd generally, but the economy clarifies that absurdity).

    The fact that many people had to lose their jobs so the teachers could get their raise is obscene. The fact that so many people lost their jobs and our taxes are still going up is an outrage.

    None of this would have been resolved or signalled clearly by a “No” vote on this budget, however. The result of a defeated budget would only have been hardship for the children of our community.

    Given this situation, the voters of Larchmont/Mamaroneck need to focus on making sure that the school board hears our demands that this kind of guaranteed increase/tenure forever/non-performance based incentive nonsense has to end.

    It’s time for the teachers (who are, after all, our employees) to live in the same world as the rest of us.

  • Homey

    Bobo and concerned parent:

    I totally agree with you. The largest line item in the school budget is wages and BENEFITS. It’s the BENEFITS (defined pension benefits rather than 401(k) like defined Contributions; and reasonble out of pocket on health care) that is KILLING the larchmont taxpayer.

  • Still Confused

    The rot starts from the top. Dr Freid sets the tone by taking his huge two hundred thousand dollar a year pension to “retire” while he takes the same job over the state line in NJ.
    Now his replacement gets all the same perks while the average tax payer sweats there next mortgage payment.
    I wish we had other opstions to protest the school spending besides a no vote. I voted yes on this last budget but of given the option I would have also voted no confidence in the current Administration.

  • Lovin' a new idea

    To Bobo, I think your idea of a residents’ vote on future union contracts is truly a fantastic one. Is it possible? As citizen volunteers, in the end, the Board members are just the same as you and me, so why aren’t our thoughts and opinions just as important as theirs?

    In the real world we have seen pay freezes in many companies, in some cases for the last 5+ years. In some companies like my spouse’s, a pay cut of 15% over the last 3 years. In the real world, most employees pay double digits for their medical coverage; in my family, over 50%.

    I don’t believe the Board or the teachers have really gotten the message yet, that we are all sick and tired of this nonsense. Yes, the voters passed the budget, merely because it seemed the lesser of two evils.

  • Bemused

    Tse and Fried are either fiscally challenged or just cynical. They have made all the easy cuts. Next year they will tell us expenditures are programmed to go up 7-9% (nothing has changed for the mandated salaries etc). Only this time they will not have fat to cut. Fried doesn’t care because he is out, replaced by one of Westchester’s all time great spenders. Probably they are hoping for an economic revival to allow them to revert to big tax hikes. This is the same fiddling while Rome burns that has been going on in Europe – denial until it is too late. Absolutely nothing has been done to talk about, much less fix the structural deficit.