CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Glen Schuster received 686 votes and that Jeff Diamond lost his seat. Schuster received 586 votes and lost his seat. We regret this error.
RYE, N.Y. – Voters passed the Blind Brook Schools' $42.3 million 2014-2015 budget Tuesday night and elected two trustees, according to unofficial results.
With 1,036 ballots tallied, 83.3 percent voted in favor of the budget, which complies with the state-mandated cap on the tax levy increase, which is 1.69 percent for Blind Brook schools. The tax levy increase voters approved Tuesday night is 1.68 percent.
"That’s encouraging because its an indicator that the community has confidence in the board’s ability to balance its fiduciary responsibilities with providing the best possible education," School Superintendent William Stark said Wednesday.
The average single-family home in Blind Brook is valued at $735,000 and would pay $11,409 in school taxes assuming it has the Basic STAR exemptions or $9,936 assuming it has the Enhanced STAR exemption.
To calculate your homestead school tax bill, divide your property’s assessed value – which is assessed at the full value of your home – by 1,000, then multiply it by the estimated tax rate – 17.51778 – and subtract the Basic STAR – $1,467 – or Enhanced STAR - $2,940.
The budget uses $1.7 million from fund balances to reduce the tax burden, which Stark said the district has traditionally done. It adds 5.25 full-time equivalent positions, including: one part-time high school teacher and middle school teacher and a full-time BMP Ridge Street School teacher.
There are also 3.90 special education teachers added, and a full-time maintenance foreman cut.
This brings full-time staff to 221 and part-time staff to about 63.
With three candidates vying for two seats, newcommer Wendy Adler received the most votes with 683. Incumbent Jeff Diamond received 675 votes, followed by Glen Schuster, who received 586 votes.
"Each person who comes to the board brings their own special talent and I think that (Adler's) background in law and journalism and being a parent of children who have graduated in the district will be an asset to the district," Stark said.
After his re-election, Diamond looks forward to another three year term.
"My priority will be to create long-term goals that will map a course for the future of the Blind Brook District, and to make a financial plan that assures that we will be able to meet our needs in a fiscally responsible way," he said.