BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- The proposed budget for Briarcliff Manor schools is expected to increase $2,765,000 to $49,550,000 in the 2014-15 school year.
The proposed increase represents a 5.91 percent increase in expenditures. The tax levy is expected to increase 1.97 percent, well below Briarcliff's tax levy cap of 2.68 percent, according to Schools Superintendent James Kaishian.
The majority of the budget increase will be paid for through non-property taxes and assigned fund balances.
The major drivers behind the proposed increase are salaries and benefits, which are expected to increase by about $2 million, as well as increases in retirement benefits and tuition for students who need services offered out of the district, Kaishian said. The district will be adding 1.95 teaching positions and three teaching assistant positions, as well as a full-time technologist to help with school technology. The district is also looking to build up its reserve funds.
"When you want to be prudent in terms of budgeting, you want to make sure to have a bit of a cushion in case the unexpected happens," Kaishian said.
The major capital project will be increasing security at all three schools, a project that will cost about $500,000.
"We want to address the main entrances of each of the buildings: Todd, the Middle School and the High School," said Stuart Malley, assistant superintendent for finance and operations. "We will be putting in vestibules at each of those locations, replacing the exterior doors with new security and hardened doors."
The district will need to replace one of the chillers that run the air conditioning at the middle school, which blew this year when a mouse bit through a wire, Malley said. That will cost about $40,000. A new plow and pickup truck is also needed, which will cost about $50,000.
The district will also be rolling out what Kaishian calls "Briarcliff 2.0," an initiative to improve technology in the school district and provide students with devices such as tablets that they can take home with them to use. The district started piloting the program this spring with the fourth grade class, and next year plans to expand it to all fourth and fifth grade classes, as well as all K-12 teachers. The program will be phased, with plans to expand it to all fourth grade through 12th grade students by the 2019-20 school year.