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Coalition for Scarsdale Schools

Vote YES for the Scarsdale School Budget 

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Scarsdale Middle School

7am – 9pm



Good evening.  Arthur Rublin, Donellan Road, Chair of the Coalition for Scarsdale Schools, speaking tonight on behalf of the CSS Executive Committee.

First, we very much appreciate the work of the Administration and the School Board on the Budget for 2014-15.  We know that both the Administration and School Board have spent a great deal of time.

We support the proposed Budget.  

We share the concerns that have been expressed previously by the League of Women Voters of Scarsdale Board, and again tonight, about the budget process.  It appeared that the School District’s Superintendent felt constrained to propose a fairly austere budget from the start, rather than a budget that, to use Dr. McGill’s words, would fund education in Scarsdale “as it ought to be.”  With respect to the substance, we share the concern that certain community members, including one at the last Board meeting, expressed, that when the School District is effectively standing still, notwithstanding a rapidly changing world, it is in a certain way falling behind.  We are also concerned about the revenue holes that have been left for next year and subsequent years.

I recognize that Ms. Seiden has tonight suggested that this Budget would not have the District standing still.  I think reasonable people can in good faith have differences in perspective on that.  I will respectfully submit that at a time when, for example:

  • the curriculum specialists in the elementary schools have been reduced from six to two in recent years despite expressions of concern from Ms. Shain; 
  • a library position has been cut at the Middle School; 
  • a Middle School computer teacher position was cut and not restored; 
  • Dr. McGill’s recommendation last year to introduce Mandarin at the Middle School, and suggestion this year that it be considered, has not been adopted,

The forward progress facilitated by the proposed Budget is unfortunately limited.

In a posted memo to the Board before the Budget study sessions, Dr. McGill suggested a dichotomy between x) a Budget that funds education as it ought to be, as he said a number of community residents had expressed an interest in, and y) a Budget, “just as it has to be to preserve what we already have (also possibly eroding it at the margins).”  

With all of that said, we take note of the fact the proposed Budget:

  1. Would carry forward the District’s elementary class size practice;
  2. Would add teachers at the High School to address class size concerns there;
  3. Preserves educational program; and
  4. Includes some enhancement, albeit very limited.

We also appreciate that it was expressly recognized in the course of the presentation of the proposed Budget last month that in future years it may not be possible to preserve program without overriding the presumptive tax cap.  

Ultimately, we believe it is important for voters to approve the proposed Budget, lest we be faced with a Budget defeat and pressure for cuts.

We thank you again for your work.


Read Memo from Dr. McGill


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