Gazette Ceases Publication: Donates Archives to LHS

In 2010, the Larchmont Gazette ceased publication. In 2011 the publishers donated all contents to the Larchmont Historical Society, which will continue to make the Gazette archives available online.

All inquiries should be addressed to the Larchmont Historical Society.

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Vote YES on the Budget, YES on the Bond

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.

Philippa Wharton
Larchmont, NY

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3 comments to Vote YES on the Budget, YES on the Bond

  • Ralph Petrillo

    While everyone in the community supports the education system, and if your statistics are correct, 78% of the cost structure is fixed, then education management really only exists to make decisions for the variable costs every year of the remaining 22%. So if the budget is $120 million, the top management is overseeing approximately 22% of $120 million in variable costs or$ 26.4 million in variable costs. It is far better for the administrators to take a pay cut for the next five years to help reduce costs since they are earning salaries approximately close to $ 300,000 to oversee a variable cost budget of approximately 26.4 million. While it is never easy to take a pay cut, it would be interesting to see the salaries of the top administrators in the area decrease by at least 10 to 15% to show their support for public sector costs. Now is the time to show a commitment to their communities in retaining costs. The real test of leadership is to recognize when tax payers want their taxes frozen or reduced. New construction costs for the time being should be reduced. New windows for example should be re-examined to make sure the old windows for the entire school are in bad condition as stated or are they merely not the right design choice Sometimes less will produce better results. The school budget should not get an increase this year.

  • P Boulat

    As voters think about the budget, please consider that the Pension contributions (representing for the proposed budget 3.9M, that is to say about 3% of the budget, and , incredibly, dropping $440k from last year to this year, will most likely double or treble in the years to come. This is due to the the losses in the pension fund (charitably estimated at 25%) and the lower expected yield of financial assets. Assuming (optimistic) that the contributions only double, this will mechanically increase the budget by 3% (and that is before payrises et al). Obviously, the Board and Admin (those who understand what I am writing about, that is) know about this – this will be next year’s problem. I say make it this year’s problem and go for zero pc increase. Vote this budget down.

  • Ralph Petrillo

    P Boulat is on target. There are hidden future costs. The request for an additional 3.23% on a 120 million dollar budget is approximately only 4 million dollars. So if upper management can sacrifice one million from their salaries , then only $ 3 million in upgrades to school system improvements can be eliminated or postponed. It is as if there is never a time that the public sector management will ever be able to keep costs frozen. In most of the private sector expenses are being cut by 10 to 15% to survive, and the public education system is once again unable to keep costs frozen or controlled. Control costs through the ballot box.