School district residents will vote May 16

The Haldane and Garrison school districts have adopted final budgets for the 2023-24 academic year to present to voters on May 16.

The Haldane board on Tuesday (April 18) approved $28.2 million in spending and a 1.96 percent property tax increase. That matches the tax cap calculated by the state for the district for 2023-24.

The budget includes funding for a class for as many as eight kindergarten, first- and second-graders with autism or similar needs ($166,000); a new special education teacher at the secondary level ($91,000); a French teacher ($91,000); and equipment to teach coding, robotics, design and engineering ($13,500).

Superintendent Philip Benante said the district benefited from a 25 percent increase in state aid, amounting to $719,509, and a 51 percent jump in state pre-K funding ($118,800).

There will be one seat on the ballot for the five-member school board, with incumbent Peggy Clements as the only candidate for her fourth, 3-year term.

Meanwhile, the Garrison school board adopted its $12.56 million budget last week. It includes a 3.3 percent property tax increase, matching its state cap for 2023-24.

The Garrison budget calls for the district to spend nearly $700,000 of its savings and make $220,000 in cuts, including changing the art teacher from full-time to part-time; eliminating the part-time Committee on Special Education chair and assigning those duties to the school psychologist; and dropping a bus from its contract fleet and adjusting routes to allow for one less driver, perhaps stopping service for any child who lives within 2 miles of the school.

There will be three candidates on the May 16 ballot — incumbent Jocelyn Apicello and newcomers Jennifer Harriton-Wilson and Dan Jasnow — for three vacancies on the seven-member board. The two candidates who receive the most votes will serve three-year terms, while the other candidate will complete the final year of the term of Madeline Julian, who resigned March 31.

Behind The Story

Type: News

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

Joey Asher is a freelance writer and former reporter for The Journal News.

2 replies on “Haldane and Garrison Adopt Budgets”

  1. On May 16, Garrison residents will once again be asked to vote on approving the school budget. My two sons graduated from Garrison and are enrolled at Haldane High School, where they both are having a great experience, thanks in no small part to the great educations they received in elementary and middle school.

    I hope that my neighbors will join me in voting to approve the budget, so that current and future students can continue to enjoy the benefits of the great school that my sons attended.

    This year’s tax levy represents an increase of 3.29 percent, which is the maximum allowed under the state tax cap. As we are all made well aware each time we go to the supermarket, inflation over the past year has significantly exceeded 3.29 per-cent, and the school board has had to make some difficult decisions and cuts to come in under the cap. These cuts include reducing the art teacher position and consolidation of a bus route, as well as spending down reserves.

    Garrison is a strong district that draws families with children to our community and supports our property values. Let’s all work to keep it that way by approving this year’s budget and supporting our school.

  2. We write to urge voter approval of the 2023-24 budget proposed by the Garrison Board of Education.

    As past presidents of the Garrison school board who have collectively served the district for four decades, we know the challenges involved in delivering an excellent education for Garrison students while at the same time being careful stewards of taxpayer resources.

    We have studied the administration’s excellent budget presentation at For the second year in a row, inflation exceeds the allowable tax cap increase. The board and the administration have made significant cuts and drawn down reserves to stay within the tax cap limit while maintaining educational quality. None of these cuts are easy but they have been made with district taxpayers in mind.

    Garrison taxpayers enjoy a lower school tax burden than in neighboring districts, while receiving unrivaled educational value. Garrison students consistently excel by every measure of academic performance. Prospective homebuyers are willing to pay a sizable premium for homes in a highly rated district like Garrison.

    We believe the board and administration of the Garrison district have presented a budget that is fair and responsible; one that maintains educational quality and preserves the substantial advantage taxpayers enjoy relative to other districts. We urge voters to approve it on May 16.

    This letter was also signed by Stan Freilich, James Hoch and Ray O’Rourke.

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