At its April meeting, the Bronxville Board of Education continued on its path of fiscal restraint, adopting a 2011 budget of $43,604,187. This budget represents approximately a 0% budget-to-budget increase, a 0% tax levy increase, and, because of reductions in assessed value, an estimated 3.17% increase in the tax rate. Expenditures have been flat since 2008-09, when the budget equaled $43,631,140.
Over this period of time, cost containment has been accomplished through a combination of approaches, including voluntary wage concessions, retirement incentives, not replacing certain vacancies, and outsourcing the custodial function. At the same time, the District has been able to maintain average class sizes in the low twenties and signature programs such as elementary science specialists, instrumental music, K-8 skills, and electives and advanced courses at the high school. The proposed spending plan for 2011-12 adds two additional teaching positions in order to reduce elementary class sizes at grades 3 and 4. The budget also includes targeted reductions in the clerical staff (2.4 positions), 1.0 teaching assistant, freezing two top salaries, and various adjustments in non-instructional areas. Overall staffing was 257.7 in 2008 and is projected at 222.1 positions in 2011 – a reduction of 13.8%. The Board has also applied $840,000 of reserves in order to offset tax levy increases. The April budget presentation can be found here.
The Board is also taking a long view toward future needs. Responding to the most recent building conditions survey conducted by our architects, the Board of Education has developed a five-year capital plan. This plan addresses various infrastructure needs and contemplates renovations of our auditorium and middle school science labs. In order to fund such projects, the Board wishes to establish a construction reserve.
The Board has also expressed an interest in exploring possible cost savings that could arise from program redesign, school consolidation, service delivery models, and administrative changes. These options will be analyzed this coming fall.