The Putnam Examiner

Mahopac Schools’ Budget Sees No Layoffs, Only Small Tax Uptick

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By Janine Bowen

Mahopac Central School District residents will see a tax increase of less than 1 percent thanks to the budget adopted by the Board of Education during its April 14 meeting.

The 2015-2016 budget comes in at $119.9 million, which marks an increase of $2,235,541 or 1.90 percent over last year. The total tax levy will be $84,101,189, which represents an increase of .99 percent over the 2014-2015 budget. Residents in the town of Carmel will see a tax rate increase of just 39 cents while Putnam Valley residents will see a tax rate increase of 25 cents.

Superintendent Brian Monahan stated, via email, that the low tax levy was made possible due to increases in state aid, reductions in the district’s required payments to the state pension system, and careful fiscal management.

“For next year, we will be able to maintain reasonable class sizes-something that is always a high priority with teachers and administrators, especially at the lower grade levels,” said Monahan of the budget’s achievements. “We are also providing some additional support for students with special needs and students that are struggling.”

District officials divided the budget into three areas during an April 14 presentation. Administrative costs, which include employee benefits and curriculum and instruction, come in at $8,894,006 that represents a decrease of $1,127,294 over the current budget. Programming expenditures, which includes guidance, psychological, and social worker services as well as transportation, are estimated at $97,440,917, which represents an increase of $4,351,838 over 2014-2015. Finally capital costs, which include basic operations and maintenance, are expected to drop by $989,003 for a final cost of $13,663,844.

This budget is unique for Monahan as it marks the first time since he became a superintendent in 2004 that he was able to go through the budget process without discussing layoffs. The 2015-2016 budget currently does not call for the any employee layoffs or the elimination of any programs. In addition, the district was able to allocate additional money in the budget for a drug and alcohol abuse counselor at Mahopac High School as well as funding for additional health education at the middle school to address the drug problem that has been gripping the county for the past few years.

“That is something that has been a high priority of the Board of Education,” said Monahan of adding a drug and alcohol counselor. “Like schools throughout the region, we have been troubled and saddened by the impact that substance abuse has had on our young people.”

A public hearing regarding the adopted budget will be held on May 12 at 7:30 p.m.

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