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Chappaqua Cuts $1.1M to Present Tax Cap-Compliant Budget to Voters

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The Chappaqua Board of Education at Monday night’s meeting. Abby Luby photo.

The Chappaqua Board of Education Monday night adopted a reduced budget for the 2024-25 school year to present to voters in two weeks.

School administrators cut $1.1 million from the first proposed budget of $141.8 million that was rejected by voters last month. The updated budget of $140.7 million increases spending by $2.4 million and is tax cap-compliant.

The tax levy for the newly proposed budget is a 1.81 percent increase over last year’s budget. The first budget that failed had a tax levy increase of 2.99 percent.

The originally proposed budget rejected last month by voters exceeded New York State’s two percent tax cap. Of the 3,100 people who voted in the budget election, 64 percent voted against it (2,006-1,128). The only other time the district experienced a failed budget was in 1980.

One of the biggest reductions comes from the decision not to hire three new school resource officers (SROs), which would have cost the district about $600,000 and placed an officer in each of the district’s six schools daily. Previous surveys showed strong support for additional SROs, officials have emphasized.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Ackerman assured the board that no cuts were made that would alter the safety and security of the district’s schools.
“As always the safety of our students and staff remains our priority,” Ackerman told the board and about 10 people who attended Monday night’s meeting in person.

Other reductions include the transfer of two staff developers to classrooms, resulting in a savings of $250,000, and $30,000 to the summer professional development staff.

Cuts were also made in operations and maintenance, including $15,000 from snow removal costs and $12,000 from equipment repairs. A reduction in consultant contracts will save the district $46,000 and an additional $59,000 will be saved by not hiring a vacant clerical position in the middle school.

For additional revenue, the district will dip into its unrestricted fund balance for $298,279.

If the new budget isn’t approved on June 18, the district would be required to adopt a state-imposed contingency budget which would result in about $3.5 million in reductions and would require no levy increase over the current year.
Cuts would be made to administration, non-essential transportation costs, and capital expenses for technology. In addition, the district could no longer support community access to the facilities for free and would charge a fee for those using any of the school facilities.
At last week’s budget work session, school administrators warned of fallout from a contingency budget.
“You don’t want to be there,” said Ackerman. “It would take a significant amount of time to recover.”
A public hearing on the new budget is set for Tues., June 11.
Chappaqua was one of four Westchester County school districts to present a budget that exceeded the tax cap. The other three districts, Scarsdale, Rye and Harrison, saw voters approve those budgets with 67.9, 71.6 and 63.3 percent support, respectively.
For more information on the newly proposed budget, visit

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