PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Members of the Port Chester School District Board of Education voted on Wednesday evening to adopt a $3.23 million budget increase for the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to a release.
The school board voted to increase the budget 3.8-percent, which includes a 3.89-percent raise in the tax levy.
A public hearing regarding the school budget will be held on May 7 at Port Chester High School before it goes to a ballot vote by town residents on May 20.
Residents can go to the Port Chester Schools website to calculate how the budget would affect their taxes.
The original 2014-15 budget proposed by Superintendent Edward Kliszus was $87,444,708, an increase of 2.65 percent over last year. The recently passed state budget added an additional $1,006,070 in state aid to Port Chester, bringing the total budget up to $88,450,778. The budget is within the state tax levy cap.
Under New York state law, each school district has a different allowable tax levy increase, which is based on the consumer price index, state calculations and Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreements. Kliszus said the main driver of the increase is Altria's PILOT agreement ending and the property going back onto the tax roll.
The homeowner's portion of the tax levy will actually decrease 4.74 percent next year, meaning that school taxes should go down for most residents.
The increase in state aid has allowed the district to add some programs this week that would not have made it into the budget otherwise. These programs include a boys and girls swim team for the high school, four teachers at the high school to reduce the amount of study halls that students take, a psychologist at JFK School, home language arts teachers at Park School and Edison School, a Middle School foreign language teacher, department supervisors at the high school, and additional money for extracurricular activities and preventative maintenance.
Kliszus said that community advocacy played a big part in bringing extra money to the district. He said parents and other community members signed an online petition and sent thousands of letters to state legislators.