Hudson Valley taxpayers to vote on school budgets starting Tuesday

The voting comes after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged districts financially.

News 12 Staff

May 10, 2021, 9:39 PM

Updated 1,129 days ago

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Taxpayers in some parts of the Hudson Valley will have a chance to vote on their local school districts' proposed budget starting Tuesday.
The voting comes after the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged districts financially.
East Ramapo Central School District's interim Superintendent Ray Giamartino says it's a new chapter and new renewal - and hopes voters will agree to approve the district's $272 million budget.
He says it would keep a flat tax levy and is fiscally responsible, with the district ensuring each department is properly funded.
"Me and my team ended up finding a yearslong series of underfunded or even unfunded budget codes," says Giamartino.
Taxpayers will vote on the budget Tuesday in the wake of the last year's rejected budget and a financial blunder. The district borrowed $36 million after failing to adjust the budget when the state cut school aid by 20%.
School districts across the Hudson River are also facing tough financial forecasts.
White Plains Public Schools' proposed budget calls for a 1.23% tax levy increase, which is well under the cap of 3.88%.
"We recognize how difficult this year has been for many of our families, and we want to try frankly to keep the tax increase as low as we possibly could," says White Plains Public Schools Superintendent Joe Ricca.
Ricca says the district made smart decisions during the pandemic, like a hiring freeze.
"Our message has always been to make sure our fiscal outlook is stable, we don't want peaks and valleys," says Ricca.
Both school districts did not include incoming federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan, and it's unclear when that funding will be paid out.
East Ramapo is one of three school districts where voters are deciding on budgets Tuesday.
White Plains and the remaining school districts will vote next Tuesday.


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