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A First Look at the 2017-18 Scarsdale School Budget: What's In and What's Out

headcountWhat's in store for taxpayers next year? At the Scarsdale School Board meeting on Monday night February 13, Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey gave the community a first look at the 2016-17 school budget. The estimate shows a total school budget of $154,300,765, which is a budget-to-budget increase of 2.56% over 2016-17 and will mean a 1.46% increase in the tax levy. The projected tax levy limit for this year is 1.55%, so the increase would fall below the tax cap.

See the presentation here:

There will be $3.8 million budget to budget increase that includes a $2.8 million transfer from this year's reserves to pay for a shortfall in the 2014 bond project which is underway now.

Included in this projected budget are some additional staff members requested by the administration.


Among the additions will be 2.5 early reading teachers so that each of the five elementary schools has a full time reading specialist to help some of the youngest students who are struggling to learn to read. A half time Learning Resources teacher is needed as well.

At the middle school, the district is proposing .to add a .2 to .4 Mandarin teacher for a new program that will be offered before school if there is sufficient demand from incoming sixth graders. Each section would have 24 students. If students drop-out during the year and enrollment falls below 18 students the program would be disbanded mid-year. Lynn Shain estimates that the cost for this new program will be $22,000-$44,000, depending if one or two sections are needed.

At the high school, the administration will add a full time STEAM coordinator.

Director of Special Education and Student Services Eric Rauschenbach said a second school nurse was needed at the high school to care for the school population of 1,521 students. The second nurse would be available after school, and also do scoliosis, vision and hearing screenings, keep forms updated, issue gold cards and help fulfill a wide variety of state mandates. The New York State Nursing Association recommends one nurse per 750 students and the high school has double that number.

Other staff additions include two more cleaning people at the high school to help with the expanded facilities.

The administration is also proposing to convert the five Teachers in Charge at the elementary schools to Assistant Principals, which will cost the district $75,000 this year.

If enrollment projections are correct, two additional elementary school teachers will be needed at Fox Meadow, as well as a special education co-teacher at the kindergarten level.

According to Drew Patrick, Assistant Superintendent for Personnel, the total additional cost of these staffing increases will be $1,051,000. This would bring the total district staffing (without part-time civil service employees) to 619.21 employees – which is the highest level of staffing in the past nine years.


Teen Center

This projected budget does not include a $65,000 allocation for the Teen Center that is traditionally included.

Formed in 1999, funding for the Teen Center has been in question practically since its inception. It was formed by a letter of agreement between the School and Village Boards to fund it jointly with annual allocations from their budgets. As usage of the facility as waxed and waned over the ensuing 17 years, both Boards have had questions about its usage, vitality and importance to families and students.

The Board invited the leadership of the Teen Center in to discuss the funding.
Teen Center Director Ellen Tiven Moore, and Teen Center Board Members Dan Hochvert and BK Munguia spoke at the meeting and called the center a safe, drug and alcohol-free place for kids to drop in or attend scheduled programs. BK Munguia argued that the classroom is not the only place that children learn skills and that the center captures "the needs and concerns of the community." She said the Teen Center has been on "life support" these past few years and used up their reserves.

Dan Hochvert said, "It the board does not support the Teen Center, the Teen Center will close. These funds cannot be made up by anything we can do."

Lee Maude called the process of deciding on annual funding "dysfunctional" and said that representatives from the school and village boards had met last year to review the Teen Center's finances and find a way to change the business model to be self-sustaining. However the Teen Center Board pushed back on the idea that programming fees alone could fund the center. A successful "Escape the Room" program had helped the bottom line this year, but it's not clear that income-generating programs alone could fund the center that pays rent and pays one and a half employees. School Board member Pam Fuehrer questioned whether the Teen Center was being used primarily as a venue for activities such as moving up ceremonies and young men in leadership meetings that formerly occurred in school facilities. She suggested that taxpayers were already paying for facilities that could be used for this purpose.

Bob Harrison said that many contributed the $250,000 that was used to launch the Teen Center and warned the Board, "you're going to have some bond issues – you'll want our support – don't turn your back on these issues."

Transportation to Religious Instructional Programs:

Stuart Mattey announced that the district had discovered it was transporting children to religious instruction programs after school, which is not in compliance with state law. This started when Quaker Ridge Elementary School was under construction and has been continued since that time. The district will notify the parents of 15 students who attend Westchester Reform and seven students who are transported to St. Pious that after school bus service will no longer be available.

A-Schoolers Experience the World of Work

DonatScarsdale's A Schoolers got a taste of the working world in January when they left the classroom to pursue internships at businesses and non-profits. The Scarsdale Alternative School Internship Program was created in 1973 to give students hands on experience in the workforce and to increase student freedom and responsibility. A-School classes are suspended during the month of January to allow time for students to complete an internship. Thirty-five hours of work per week are required, but the more regular high school (non A-School) classes a student takes, the more hours they subtract from that required number. A-Schoolers participate in a wide variety of internships.

For her internship this year, Lindsay Donat '19 worked at Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship, a non-profit in Mount Kisco that uses horses to help people with special needs. Lindsay noted, "One cool thing I've learned from my internship is that after interacting with a horse just once, that horse will remember you for up to five years."

Hannah Spitzer '18 shadowed a surgeon for her internship. She loved her internship, and now knows that she would like to be a doctor: "I have always been interested in the medical field but now I definitely want to be a doctor. The doctor I have had the privilege of shadowing helps so many people and for all the right reasons. Everyone there is so genuine and they all truly care for their patients. They have demonstrated how important empathy is in the medical field and how much good a doctor can do. I leave internship everyday so happy and excited for the next day and hope that one day this could be my job."

Alex Wilson '19 worked with a charity in New York City called Girls Write Now that mentors underprivileged high school girls to help them go to college and become writers. Alex, like many A-Schoolers, commuted on the train to Manhattan every day. Alex said, "I definitely learned a lot about independence; it's the weirdest feeling to commute with adults and my friends' parents on the train, but I like the sense of freedom that comes with it."

For his internship, Evan Braun '18 worked at the JCC Mid-Westchester in Scarsdale, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching the community by providing cultural, social, educational and recreational/fitness programs, human services and Jewish identity-building opportunities to people of all ages, backgrounds, religions, or sexual orientation. This internship allowed Evan to work in a wide variety of fields: "What I love with my internship is that I have so many areas to work in which allows me to interact with different types of people, and learn many new things. At the JCC have interacted with people whose ages range from three to ninety."

Hannah Glickenhaus '18 worked at the popular Levain Bakery in Harlem. Many A-Schoolers, like Hannah, consider turning their internship into a job after the month of January is over. Hannah said, "I am considering getting a job at the bakery over the summer! I am very interested in fashion merchandising, and I have been trying to get an internship doing that, but being able to merchandise for a bakery has been a wonderful experience too!"

Camila Tardiff '18 worked at the Sandbox Theater in Mamaroneck. Camila loves working with kids, acting, and directing, and has learned several new skills in each of those fields. She noted, "I have learned a lot of new directing skills; for example, a director needs to be able to be extremely flexible with the number of cast members, size of the stage, the amount of set pieces being placed on stage during specific scenes, and the amount of time the director has to rehearse the show."

Chloe Gold '17 worked at the Doughnut Project, a doughnut shop doughnutsin Manhattan. Chloe discussed the cooperation between small businesses in NYC: "I learned about how the surrounding businesses in NYC really care for each other. My employer buys a majority of their ingredients from stores within a few blocks of them. Every Sunday my boss sends doughnuts to this olive oil shop a few stores down. All the local businesses really support each other and want the others to succeed."

Paige Barlow '19 worked at The Little School, a preschool in Scarsdale. Paige loved the kids she worked with, and was shocked about the maturity of the three-year-olds: "I am surprised at how well behaved and smart beyond their years they all are."

By the time they graduate, A-Schoolers will have completed three internships, or four if they opt to do an internship for their senior project. Thus, they enter the workforce with a great deal of preparation.

Scarsdale Historical Society Produces Video to Memorialize Their Story

cudnerhyatthouse4-3The Scarsdale Historical Society's Cudner-Hyatt farmhouse and Quaker Meeting House, both on Post Road, are for sale. The Cudner-Hyatt house is a Scarsdale farmhouse dating from 1734 and furnished in a mid-19th century style. The house is one of Scarsdale's earliest settlements, and one of the last remaining farmhouses in Westchester. Only two families inhabited the house for 200 years. The Cudner-Hyatt house was later restored and turned into an educational museum, to help teach the history of Scarsdale.

In order to memorialize the property, the Scarsdale Historical Society has posted a new video on its website. The video features Scarsdale Historical Society VP and Historian Barbara Shay MacDonald giving a tour of the Cudner-Hyatt House. Did you know that the Post Road in Scarsdale, where the house is located, began as a Native American trail that started in New York City, and went all the way to Canada? The video is full of more interesting facts about Scarsdale and the Cudner-Hyatt house.

The video was professionally produced and directed by Scarsdale native Lesley Topping. Ms. Topping is an independent, multimedia producer and film editor whose work includes documentaries, dramatic films and television programs. She has edited films for CBS, A&E and PBS and worked on many features films. Currently, she specializes in producing multimedia content and website videos for businesses and not for profits. Richard Westlein is a 12-time Emmy Award winning cinematographer and ABC cameraman. His extensive credits include "One Life to Live", "All My Children", and many ABC programs, documentaries and commercials. He is a cameraman on "The View" and the owner of Jupiter Video that provides state of the art production equipment to many companies. Lesley and Richard are cousins and often partner on independent projects. Lesley's parents, Seymour and Audrey Topping, still live in Scarsdale today.

The video can be found here

The Scarsdale Historical Society exists to discover, preserve, and disseminate historical information as well as inspire others to learn about and contribute to the history of Scarsdale and the Central mid-Westchester region.

For more information, contact Randy Guggenheimer (917) 860-6616 or Marc Cheshire (914) 482-4299

SFCS Gala to Showcase Local Businesses: It Takes a Village

teenfashionScarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Services (SFCS) will showcase local Scarsdale businesses at its annual fundraising gala, May 11, 2017. In addition to dinner and dancing, this year's groundbreaking gala entitled, It Takes A Village, will feature a fashion show where clothing, shoes and accessories, along with merchandise available at local Scarsdale stores, will be modeled by Scarsdale middle and high school age students. SFCS, a local community service, is focused on supporting families and, by extension, local businesses that serve them.

In the coming weeks, local businesses will be contacted by SFCS Board members and invited to participate by providing clothing, shoes, bags, jewelry and other merchandise that can be displayed on student models during the fashion show. SFCS Board members will also be reaching out to parents of Scarsdale middle and high school to enlist students to volunteer for this great cause.

"We are honoring local businesses this year because Scarsdale is very community-oriented and interconnected," said James Genova, LCSW, executive director, SFCS. "We care about supporting each other, whether that is nurturing the emotional well-being of families and their members, as Scarsdale Family Counseling Services does, or fostering the viability of our neighborhood businesses. The health and vibrancy of our whole community is important to us all."

The annual SFCS Spring fundraising gala will be on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at Scarsdale Golf Club. For more information about tickets for the gala, go to To offer display merchandise to be featured in the fashion show or to volunteer as a model in the fashion show, go to or call SFCS at (914) 723-3281.

SFCS is a voluntary, not-for-profit family counseling agency. SFCS has provided service since 1920 to those who live or work in the greater Scarsdale area. The mission of the Agency is to be a center for family growth and learning, a place where families, couples and individuals can find help with the normal problems of daily living, as well as crises; to enhance the functioning of the family and its individual members through family life education; to stimulate social thinking and action to better social conditions; and to cooperate with other organizations for this purpose.

Scarsdale Police Arrest Two for Fraudulent ATM Card Use

LiuOn Thursday January 18th, 2017 at approximately 2:19 pm the Scarsdale Police responded to Webster Bank on Popham Road on a report of suspicious ATM activity.

An officer on foot patrol in the area was on scene in less than 2 minutes and located the suspects. Officers interviewed two suspects who were identified by bank personnel as the individuals who had conducted numerous fraudulent transactions at the ATM terminal. After an investigation at the scene, the following individuals were arrested:

Yan Lin Liu, age 33 of Flushing, NY was arrested on 27 Counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 2nd Degree, which is a Class D Felony.

Huirong Liu, age 24 of Flushing, NY was also arrested on 27 Counts of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the 2nd Degree, which is a Class D Felony.

Both suspects were arraigned in Scarsdale Justice Court Huirongand remanded to the Westchester County Jail on $60,000 bail each. Both defendants are Chinese citizens in the US on a visa.

Both suspects were in possession of 27 fraudulent bank ATM cards, none of which had cardholders names, and most of which did not have any account number or bank information on them. The ATM cards all had 4 digit PIN numbers written on the back of them. Fraudulent transactions at the bank where the suspects were arrested exceeded $29,000.

The Scarsdale Police are continuing their investigation into the incident, identifying both the financial institution and account holder information encoded on the cards. The Scarsdale Police Department was assisted by the US Secret Service White Plains Office and is working with the Westchester County District Attorney's Office Financial Crimes Division on the ongoing investigation.