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Proposed 2021-22 Budget Assumes A Full Return to School But Provides for COVID Related Expenses, Just In Case

auditoriumThough most in the Scarsdale School community are focused on the current year, the Board of Education held a budget study session on Monday March 1 to consider finances for the next school year. With so many questions about what April 2021 will bring, it’s even harder to plan for September 2021.

But the administration has given it some thought and provided assumptions and estimates in anticipation of adopting the 2021-22 school budget at their April 12, 2021 meeting, for a community wide vote on May 18, 2021.

On everyone’s mind is what September will look like at the Scarsdale Schools. Will it be fully in person? Will some students still require remote instruction? According to Scarsdale School Superintendent Thomas Hagerman, this budget was developed with the assumption that school will be fully in-person, but also provides funding for COVID related expenses, just in case it is not.

Specifically it calls for:

-An additional two teachers for remote learning, at cost of $220,000
-Non-recurring costs associated with COVID including instructional or general support: $330,000
-Elementary Summer Enrichment Program: $250,000

A total of $1,200,000 is allocated for a worst case scenario, with funds from reserves, just in case it is another abnormal year.

covid costs

Tax Increase

As of now, the proposed 2020-21 budget is $166,862,755 which is a 2.56% increase over 2019-20 and calls for a total tax levy increase of 2.15%. This translates to a 1.93% tax increase for Scarsdale residents and 6.28% for residents in the Mamaroneck strip.

Curriculum and Instruction

Assistant Superintendent Edgar McIntosh reviewed the budgets for curriculum and instruction. He emphasized that “students are the center” of Scarsdale Schools and outlined where funds go for teaching, curriculum improvement and assessment. This portion of the budget provides for special programs in the arts such as visiting dance performances and artists that will hopefully resume next school year. The Global Learning Alliance supports connections between Scarsdale students and international peers and the Scarsdale Teachers Institute offering staff development to Scarsdale educators. Also funded in this portion of the budget is the Center for Innovation that provides grants for the development of new programming, teacher grants for off-site workshops, meetings and conferences and sustainability initiatives like the school gardens.


Special Education

Assistant Superintendent Eric Rauschenabach explained that the proposed Special Education budget is $693,030 above this year or a 4.41% increase. The proposed budget for teacher and instructional staff salaries as well as educational materials totals $61,514,511 which is a 1.27% increase over 20-21. Currently 23.5% of the 4,630 students in the Scarsdale Schools have either a CSE Classification of a 504 Identification. These numbers have grown steadily over the past ten years.

The budget increase will fund an additional co-teaching position for an expected section of ICT and an additional special education for the high school.


Jerry Crisci said that though technology is only 2% of the budget it touches every area of the school community.

The work of the department is to maintain and operate the organization, systems and equipment. He explained that he is dealing with a lot of uncertainty as the technology companies that provide equipment to the school have become more secretive, making it difficult to plan what will be available in the coming year. COVID has caused disruptions in the supply chain and some of the hardware the district needs is delayed up to four months. There are also unexpected price changes that make budgeting a challenge.

Crisci noted that the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology such as video conferencing for elementary school students. He believes online instruction is here to stay and will require ongoing funding.

The good news is that the district will receive a reimbursement of $75,000 from NYS for software and online services.


The proposed plant operations budget will go up $123,928 or 1.41% and includes funding for five additional school cleaners, one for each elementary school. This budget supports the daily cleaning of just over one million square feet of building space. Also new this year is $134,000 for safety and security to purchase a district lockdown service. The grounds budget of $3,564,096 provides for the upkeep of 118 acres of grounds. The proposed budget includes $45,000 for the purchase of a truck with a plow to replace a vehicle from 2003. This budget includes funds for water testing, after the district was found to have both lead and legionella in the water supply.

The plant improvement budget of $1,015,000 is just .61% of the total budget and the lowest allocation in ten years. Since the district funded many facilities improvements through two recent bonds, there are fewer projects that require immediate attention.

For the 2021-22 school year, Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey plans to install LED lighting in the hallways of Edgewood and Fox Meadow Elementary Schools, do district wide roof repairs, install carbon monoxide detectors and renovated the bus compound. At Heathcote, emergency doors will be replaced, security lighting will be installed, modifications will be made for handicap accessibility to the nurse’s office and the building foundation will be repaired.

At the high school, where $700,000 has been spent on upgrading the auditorium, another $485,000 will be used to purchase and install energy efficient LED lighting fixtures. The remaining work in the auditorium will need to be addressed in future budgets.

A full budget meeting presentation is planned for Monday March 8, a budget forum on March 22 and the board is expected to adopt the budget at the April 12, 2021 meeting of the Board of Education.

See the full budget presentation here:

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