Wednesday, Jun 19th

Scarsdale 2024-25 School Budget Passes With a 67.98% Approval Rate

groupAdministrators and Board Members gathered for the vote results on Tuesday night at Scarsdale Middle School.When the voting ended and the doors closed in the Scarsdale Middle School Gym at 9 pm on Tuesday May 21, no one was making any assumptions about the outcome of the 2024-25 school budget vote. Voter turnout had been strong, but it was hard to speculate whether the increase in turnout indicated strong support for the $184.9mm budget or opposition to it. The 4.45% increase from the 2023-24 budget exceeded the tax cap and would require a 60% approval rate to pass.LeahandJimLeah Dembitzer and James Dugan were elected to serve on the Scarsdale School Board.

Gathered in the gym were the district administration, the current school board, two candidates for election, the district clerk and Diane Baylor who was appointed to oversee the election.

Though the number of voters was higher than usual, the process had gone smoothly. Poll workers were outfitted with IPads that allowed quick voter look-up and speeded the process along.

After about a half hour, District Clerk Honore Adams and Diane Baylor were ready to announce the results and it turned out to be a close call:

There were 1,185 yes votes, 558 no votes for a total of 1,743 votes and the budget passed with a 67.98% approval rate. It was a narrow victory for the district, exceeding the 60% threshold by just 140 yes votes. The number of voters this year far exceeded last year when only 646 voters turned out. The 558 “no” votes this year was close to the total vote count in prior years.

James Dugan, who was running for a second three-year term received 1,420 votes.

Leah Dembitzer, the current President of the PTC who was running for a first term on the board, received 1,441 votes.

There were 98 write-in votes.

See the historic counts below:

Commenting on the outcome, Scarsdale Schools Superintendent Drew Patrick said, “We are extremely grateful for the strong community support of our students through the adoption of this budget. Our goal from the beginning was to put forth a budget that meets the needs of our students while being mindful of the community’s ability to support the budget. We had to make hard choices, but in the end, this budget will help us to continue providing the exceptional educational experiences that are a hallmark of the Scarsdale Schools as we embark on our new strategic plan.”

AdministratrionDrew Patrick, Eric Rauschenbach, Meghan Troy, Edgar McIntosh and Andrew Lennon

School Board President Ron Schulhof said, “On behalf of the Board, thank you to the community for your support of our schools and our students. I would also like to thank District Clerk Honoré Adams, Chair Diane Baylor and all of the poll workers who volunteered their time. Congratulations to Jim on his re-election and Leah on her election to the School Board.”

Though there was no organized opposition to the budget this year, the focus on the tax cap may have driven “no” voters. Schulhof pointed out that about 20 districts in Westchester budgeted exactly to their cap, to the decimal, as an indication that there appears to be too much focus on an arbitrary state imposed number rather than focusing on educational priorities. He was grateful that the Scarsdale community chose to continue to underwrite the educational program rather than be handcuffed by an arbitrary budget number that would require the district to compromise on teaching, learning, student support or facilities. Rye and Harrison also passed budgets above their cap. 

BaylorDiane Baylor and Honore Adams prepare to announce the vote.

votehistory2024 25

RonandLeahRon Schulhof and Leah DembitzerTroyandKleinAssistant Superintendent Meghan Troy and Bob Klein

Jessica Amber and ColleenJessica Resnick-Ault, Amber Yusuf and Colleen Brown

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