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Tax Hikes Unknown in School Budgets; Board of Ed Races Uncontested

by Rick Pezzullo

Residents who go to the polls on May 16 to cast their vote on the proposed 2017-18 school budgets will have to figure out on their own how their property taxes will be affected due to the recent revaluation of property values in the Town of Greenburgh.

Irvington Superintendent of Schools Kristopher Harrison

Irvington Superintendent of Schools Kristopher Harrison

Both Tarrytown School District Superintendent Christopher Borsari and Irvington School District Superintendent Dr. Kristopher Harrison maintained they were unable to calculate a percentage and urged homeowners to use a designated formula to get an idea what they might be facing.

“Because this is the first year that Greenburgh has shifted to full value assessments, we do not have an apples to apples comparison with past years,” Borsari stated. “This has been challenging as the tax rate per $1,000 has decreased dramatically, but will be applied to the full value of the properties.”

“It is nearly impossible to make such a prediction, as we cannot calculate any comparable tax illustrations,” Harrison stated. “Our budget presentations that are posted on the website provide the community with direction as to how to calculate their 2017-18 taxes. They can compare them to the current school year to see if there are any changes. A tax calculator will also be posted on the website.”

The $75.65 million budget in Tarrytown is 1.42% below what is allowable under the state’s tax levy cap. Borsari stated the tax rate percentage change in Greenburgh was 2% and 1.94% in Mount Pleasant.

“Because this is the first year that Greenburgh has shifted to full value assessments, we do not have an apples to apples comparison with past years.” —Christopher Borsari

“This year’s budget maintains all of our current curricular and co-curricular programs and services. This includes athletics and the arts, as well as all extracurricular offerings and transportation services,” Borsari explained. “We will be expanding our Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) program so that all K-2 students will receive weekly Spanish instruction. We will also be growing our Communications Needs program, which serves students with autism, into Sleepy Hollow Middle School.”

Irvington’s $59.1 million budget includes $422,500 from fund balance and increases spending by 1.32% from this year. This year, school taxes rose 1.25% in the district.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 in both districts.

Board of Education Races

Seats for the Board of Education in both districts will also be up for grabs, but those races are uncontested.

In Tarrytown, nine-year Trustee and current board Vice President Katharine Swibold has opted not to seek another three-year term.

“I just feel it’s time to move on. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve contributed a lot. I’ve seen the district through a lot of things,” said Swibold, who mentioned she was proud of supporting Borsari’s appointment. “I will miss it very much. It was a really great experience for me. It was a great honor. It’s time to let someone else have their turn.”

John Paine will earn a second term on the board, while Arturo Almanzar, a 30-year resident of Tarrytown and father of four students in district schools, will fill Swibold’s seat.

“I do want to participate in the community any way I can,” said Almanzar, who owns a coffee business in Tarrytown called Kaffeto Gourmet. His products are sold at C-Town in the village and neighboring Ossining and other locations. “The school system is really, really good. There’s always room for improvement, no doubt.”

In Irvington, Trustee Phil Whitney will be replaced by Maria Kashkin, a former school board trustee and 20-year resident who has had three children in the district.

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