District voters will have final say on May 15

By Jeff Simms

The Beacon school board will meet on Monday (April 16) to vote on the district’s proposed 2018-19 budget, and if adopted, the $70.5 million plan will be presented to district voters on May 15.

The average resident would see an increase of about $160 in annual property taxes, based on current assessments.

The budget includes $28.2 million in revenue from state funding as well as $38.6 million in property taxes, $2.5 million from savings and various other sources that total $950,000.

The budget includes money for three new elementary teachers — an effort for the second consecutive year to reduce class sizes, Superintendent Matt Landahl said. It also includes funding for two additional elementary physical education teachers and a $36,000 contract with Altaris, a Yorktown Heights-based consulting firm that is conducting a security audit for the district.

The major spending increases are in salaries and benefits ($1.7 million) and $50,000 to hire a director of school security. The creation of the position, which would be filled for a year and then reevaluated by the board, comes amid a discussion of whether to have the Beacon Police Department assign a full-time school resource officer (SRO) to the district.

Landahl, who recommended an SRO early in the school year, said at the board’s April 9 meeting that he realizes adding an officer could be divisive, so he has dropped the proposal, for now.

The security director would train district staff and work with law enforcement and Altaris. The director would report to Landahl.

Beacon voters on May 15 will also decide on candidates for three of the school board’s nine seats — those currently held by Kenya Gadsden, Georgia Patchen and Bill Zopf. The deadline for nominating petitions is April 25. The district said none had been received as of April 11.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Simms has covered Beacon for The Current since 2015. He studied journalism at Appalachian State University and has reported for newspapers in North Carolina and Maryland. Location: Beacon. Languages: English. Area of expertise: Beacon politics