Rye debates utility tax to help fund $79M school budget

A meeting will be held next week on the 2014-15 school budget. (4/23/14)

RYE - Many Rye residents are questioning how the school board will fund a proposed $79 million budget.

The community is trying to figure out if it will support that budget by going into their reserve or with a 3 percent utility tax.

Bob Zahm is one resident that says the school board needs to do more to reduce spending instead of charging taxpayers more for phone, electric and gas. "The board has accepted the superintendent's budget and publicly hasn't questioned any of the numbers in terms of where they can reduce. Now they're focusing on revenue without having to go to the public for an override," says Zahm.

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Proponents argue that, if implemented, the utility tax would raise an estimated $1 million and save the school by digging into their general fund. "We have to tell them that we've done everything we can and we now need you to support the number four high school in America," says School Board President Laura Slack.

The budget goes up for vote on May 20. Then, the board will decide if it will fund it with the utility tax on May 28.

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