Archives for category: 2013 Budget vote

Montgomery won an absolute majority, Grados a plurality.

May 21, 2013
Total voters: 1,719
% of
John Montgomery 891 52%
Bob Grados 771 45%
Seth Oster 575 33%
David Graeber 558 32%

5.21.2013 Official Vote Count
original dimensions: width=”300″ height=”125″

Click image to enlarge
Screenshot Little Figures That Are Not There
Statistics taken out of context can be misleading.

“The little figures that are not there” is the title of Chapter 3 in Daryl Huff’s 1954 classic, How to Lie with Statistics.

Irvington Insight | Budget | May 13, 2013 | page 1 (pdf file)

33 abstentions this year:
(budget overrides the tax cap)

 YES   1027  59.7%
 NO   659  38.3%
 ABSTAIN   33  1.9%
 TOTAL 1719

249 abstentions last year:
(budget below tax cap)

 YES   904  57.3%
 NO   425  26.9%
 ABSTAIN   249  15.8%
 TOTAL  1578

An abstention is a polite ‘no.’

You may be able to download the vote count from the district website: IRVINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT | OFFICIAL VOTE COUNT | MAY 21, 2013. If the district link isn’t working, use this one: 5.21.2013 | Offical Count-Web

Budget surpluses since 2008-2009

The “fund balance” is the budget surplus, sometimes called a “rainy day” fund. By definition, it is money listed in the budget that is not designated to pay for programs. Districts have been advised to use the fund balance to stay within the tax cap, and in the May 2013 election 97% of NY districts did so. IUFSD chose to break the cap in order to keep its fund balance at the maximum allowable under the law — while borrowing $3.5 million to pay tax certs.

Year Fund  balance (budget surplus) Percent of budget
2008-2009 $1,949,375 3.85%
2009-2010 $2,040,362 4%
2011-2012 $2,012,995 4%
2012-2013 $2,046,240 4%
2013-2014 $2,162,800 4%
Amount by which 2013-2014 budget overrides tax cap $1,277,756




Last Friday, Congress’ failure to reach an alternative approach resulted in the sequestration of all federal spending. That means a 5.3% cut to all federal education spending next year, including Title I and IDEA special education funds. On a fiscal year basis, it amounts to a 9% cut. Across the state, NYSSBA estimates an impact to schools of over $100 million.

Watcha Doing This Weekend | NYSSBA

NYSSBA’s estimate of the cut to IUFSD: $21,419.

The district’s $2 Million surplus
Total Sequestration Cuts Including New York City | NYSSBA
$21,491: NYSSBA estimate of sequester cut to IUFSD

Though it was originally billed as a 2 percent property tax cap, the formula for calculating local levy limits is complex and provides exceptions for specific sorts of spending. The average levy limit this year was 5.1 percent, compared with 3.5 percent last year.


Some 97 percent of proposed budgets relied on reserve funds to help stay within the cap without cutting educational programs and services next year, according to a NYSSBA analysis. In all, districts expected to use $1.3 billion in reserves.

Exceeding tax cap proves big risk
On Board Online • May 27, 2013
Budget votes
By Cathy Woodruff

Irvington UFSD did not use its $2 million-dollar fund balance to stay within the cap.

IUFSD Fund Balance (Property Report Card)
Only 4% of districts try to break tax cap
Singapore Math explains the budget

Increasing achievement for all students

Click to enlarge
5.21.2013 Official Vote Count

Montgomery Grados Oster Graeber Write-in
Robyne Camp
machine votes
891 575 771 558  6
Total absentee
27 26 31 21 22 17  1
votes cast
1027 659 922 596 793 575  7




@@@@@ 1027 + 659 = 1686


65 votes

33 votes needed to vote no

33 abstentions


Machine/Absentee Ballots 1,719
Approximately Possible Voters 6,400
Total Voters – 5/21/13 1,719
Total Budget Votes – 5/21/13 1,686
Total Candidate Votes –
5/21/13 out of possible 3,438


 YES   1027  60%
 NO   659  38%
 ABSTAIN   33  2%
 TOTAL 1719


 YES   904  57%
 NO   425  27%
 ABSTAIN   249  16%
 TOTAL  1578

You may be able to download the vote count from the district website: IRVINGTON SCHOOL DISTRICT | OFFICIAL VOTE COUNT | MAY 21, 2013

If the district link isn’t working, use this one: 5.21.2013 | Offical Count-Web

4 is not 2

Email from a friend:

2 points – the new development across from Lyndhurst is not going to be another legend hollow – the 1st phase will only be 8 homes I believe – they’re slated to be $5 million homes so while they’re bringing young kids in, they’re also going to be paying high taxes I would imagine (and some may still put their kids in private school…. The 2nd phase is slated to be another 6 or 8 at the most (I don’t recall exactly). 14 homes is no legend hollow and again, they’re all very high end.

If the budget does not pass on the first vote, the district will put up the same budget, with a smaller “fund balance” (surplus), and we will vote again. The second budget will use the surplus to stay within the cap.

Here’s a picture: Singapore Math explains the budget.

If that budget fails, then, yes, we go to a 0% budget-to-budget increase.

Tuesday’s vote is on the size of the surplus, nothing more. We are voting on whether we want to run a $2.1 million surplus.

From the BOCES explainer posted on the district’s website:

If a proposed budget is defeated by voters, a school district—as in the past—has the option of putting the same or a revised budget up for a revote, or adopting a contingent budget. If a proposed budget is defeated twice by voters, a district must adopt a contingent budget. Certain existing contingent budget requirements remain in effect that prohibit spending in specific areas including community use of buildings, certain salary increases and new equipment purchases.

More significantly, under the new law, a district that adopts a contingent budget may not increase its current tax levy by any amount—which would impose, in effect, a zero percent cap. As of this writing, it is unclear if exemptions will apply.

The Superintendent’s Proposed Budget, as depicted by a
Singapore Math bar model:

CLICK TO ENLARGE:original:300×287

Singapore Math Scope and Sequence
Singapore Math Bar Model Strategy by Bill Jackson
Scarsdale Public Schools

Singapore Math: A Visual Approach to Word Problems
Model Drawing in Math in Focus TM

The district’s 2 million surplus

President Obama signed the sequester bill in March, so there is no uncertainty about whether we will or will not receive our annual federal funding for special education. That issue has been settled.

Even if we were waiting in suspense, the  amount we would be in suspense over would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $35K.

Click to enlarge
SPED funding & sequestration
IDEA Money Watch – New York

UPDATE 5/28/2013
NYSSBA’s March 7, 2013 estimate was $21,419

And see:
What Is Sequestration and How It Affects Special Education
IDEA Money Watch

The most recent special-education enrollment figure I have is 2011-2012:

In-district Out-of-district John Cardinal
155 31 60 264
$27,745 $5,549 $2,760 $36,063

Special Education Enrollment | 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 | Page from 2011-12 Proposed Budget IUFSD

Sequester cut: $21,419

SALARY SCHEDULES | 2009-2010 THRU 2005-2016

Irvington teachers receive four types of raises: “step,” “lane,” “salary schedule,”  and–after step increases have ended–“career increments” awarded at years 20, 25, and 30. (See: Column raises for teachers | 11/5/2010)

Step and lane raises are protected by the Triborough Amendment. The district is required by law to continue paying step-and-lane raises when the contract expires, and that is what we have done.

For the district to reduce step-and-lane raises, the union would have to make a concession.

Salary-schedule raises are not protected by the Triborough Amendment: salary-schedule raises expire when the contract expires.

For the union to continue to receive salary-schedule raises in addition to step, lane, and career-increment raises, the district must make a concession.

The district made this concession in negotiating the most recent contract. Salary-schedule raises begin again next school year.

We don’t have to pay this third type of raise at all. Nothing in the law compels us to do so, and nowhere in the private sector do employees receive three four different guaranteed raises regardless of performance or the state of the economy.

The simple truth is that IUFSD contracts break the cap, and “wages” have never been frozen. Salary-schedule raises expired; and in 2012-2013 step and lane raises were frozen but all staff members were given a “non-recurring payment of $2,750” to make up for it.

Each year since the crash, total compensation has continued to rise at a rate far above inflation. The increase in total compensation to teachers from 2011-2012 to 2012-2013 was 3.93%.

The union has indeed made some concessions. But the Board of Education has made more.

The chart below is a useful illustration of the fact that salary-schedule raises are only one of three raises teachers receive. When the salary schedule is frozen, compensation continues to rise at a rapid clip.

Click to enlarge
Teacher Climbs the Pay Scale
Source: Triborough Trouble

PRESS RELEASE – UNION CONTRACT – 1.18.2012 – Joint Press Release

Irvington teachers have not had a “salary freeze”

Over the next 5 years:

  • K-5 enrollments “may likely decrease” by up to 60 students
  • 6-8 enrollments “may likely decrease” by up to 30 pupils
  • 9-12 enrollments “may likely decrease” by up to 85 pupils

TOTAL: 175 students

CURRENT ENROLLMENT (3/4/2013): 1,794

Page 13 | Enrollment Decline
Kindergarten through Grade 12 Program Delivery Study

Press release and study:
Kindergarten through Grade 12 Program Delivery Study

Enrollment back to 1999-2000
16 new houses, not 50

Click to enlarge
Enrollment Projection 2.2013

Proposed budget: $54,070,000
Current enrollment as of 5/10/2013: 1,799
Per pupil spending: $30,056
3.5.2013 – Superintendent’s Proposed Budget – (Powerpoint)

2012-2013 Budget: $51,156,000
Enrollment as of 5/10/2013: 1,799
Per pupil spending: $28,436

Percent increase in per pupil spending: 5.7%
Core PCE inflation as of 6/9/2013: 1.13%

US Core PCE Inflation Rate Chart

US Core PCE Inflation Rate data by YCharts

Enrollment back to 1977-1978
NOTE: Enrollment as of 3/4/2013: 1,794

Click to enlarge
Taxable Assessments 3.5.2013
source: Superintendent’s Proposed Budget March 5, 2013 | page 39

  • Roughly a 1% increase in taxable assessments.
  • Proposed budget increase, excluding $3.5 million borrowed to pay tax certs: 5.7%.

Tax cap: 4 Westchester districts will seek override

Written by Joseph Spector | Albany Bureau Chief
May 9, 2013 |

ALBANY — A mere 4 percent of school districts will try to get voter approval to override the state’s property-tax cap, data released Thursday from the state Education Department showed.

Only 28 of the 669 school districts who filed their budgetproposals with the state said they would seek the approval of 60 percent of voters to override the tax cap, the records showed.

Last year, in the first year of the cap, about 50 districts sought an override and nearly 20 failed to win approval from voters. If a budget fails twice, a district can’t increase their tax levy at all.

“The cost of failing to get your budget approved is huge,” said Robert Lowry, deputy director of state Council of School Superintendents.

The districts seeking an override are mainly from Long Island and Westchester County, including the wealthy districts of Scarsdale, Briarcliff Manor, Ardsley and Irvington. Officials in Ardsley and Irvington said they hoped that if they could grow their tax levies for one year, it would allow them to raise more revenue in the future under the tax cap. The cap is a percentage of the base tax levy.


The average tax-levy increase planned for next year among school districts in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties is 3 percent. The average spending increase is 3.7 percent.

Briarcliff Manor, which is looking to override its cap, plans to reduce overall spending for the fourth straight year.


Click to enlarge
2013-14_Property_Tax_Report_Card___HIGHLIGHTED-3 SKITCH
Source: 2013-14 Property Tax Report Card

The district is increasing spending by 5.7% with PCE inflation of only 1.26%.

Core PCE, not the CPI, is used by the Federal Reserve.

US Core PCE Inflation Rate Chart

US Core PCE Inflation Rate data by YCharts

Along with the revenue issues, Briarcliff is being hit with many of the same cost increases hitting school districts everywhere. Health insurance and retirement costs alone (costs over which the District has no control) have risen over $1.3 million this year. In addition, the District is on the hook for over $300,000 in salary increases in the Central Administration and Operations & Maintenance departments.

Briarcliff has managed to deal with these cost increases with a one-time agreement with the Teachers’ Association for a salary freeze for the coming year. No teacher will receive a raise or climb a “step” on the salary chart in 2013-14, although there are instances, such as the earning of a new graduate degree, that would allow a teacher to move into a new salary lane and earn a higher salary.

School Budgets 2013-Briarcliff School District Tax Rate Increase to be Highest in Years by David Neilsen | Friday, 26 April 2013

The IUFSD board did not ask our unions to consider a wage freeze.

Application for Absentee Ballot | 2013
Voter Information Sheet | 2013

  • May 14, 2013 – deadline to submit an Absentee Ballot Application if you want ballot mailed to you.
  • May 20, 2013 – deadline to submit an Absentee Ballot Application if you plan to pick up the ballot in person.
  • May 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm – deadline for Absentee Ballots to be received by Elaine Cardea, District Clerk.

  • If you will be out of the COUNTY on May 21st, you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot.
  • There is no requirement that you be out of town overnight on May 20th or May 21st.
  • SO: if you work long hours in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, or any other county apart from Westchester County, you may wish to absentee vote.

  • District-estimated tax increase: 4.85%
  • Likely real tax increase (the “tax shift” due to successful tax certs): 7% to 8%

  • Percent increase in IUFSD spending: 5.7%
  • Percent increase in core PCE inflation: 1.26%

  • Actual Fund Balance (the district surplus – not committed to programs or staff): $2,046,240
  • Estimated Fund Balance 2013-2014: $2,162,800
  • Proposed spending above tax cap: $1,277,756

In The Hudson Independent

UPDATE 5/9/2013:

  • Estimated tax increase: 4.85%
  • Percent increase in budget: 5.7%
  • Actual tax increase for single-family homeowners who have not won a tax certiorari case this year: 7% to 8%