Yonkers City Council approves long-awaited budget
The Yonkers City Council unanimously approved its long-awaited budget last night, restoring some programs and jobs in the public schools.
The city's spending plan includes an additional $5.9 million for education. Kindergarten will be going back to full-day, and the superintendent wants to restore a half-day pre-K program.
The additional money for the schools comes from the casino at Yonkers Raceway and from cuts to police and fire overtime. According to city officials, the deal reached is not expected to raise property taxes beyond the 4.8 percent increase that was originally proposed in Mayor Phil Amicone's executive budget.
"I think we've done our best under difficult circumstances by both the taxpayers and the school children," says Councilman John Murtagh.
Back in May, the city laid off 708 school employees. Under the new budget, fewer than 50 laid-off teachers will keep their jobs.
In addition, class sizes may increase, and sports and extracurricular activities will be eliminated if no more money is found over the summer.
The Yonkers School District is still waiting to see if the state will approve a borrowing plan for the teachers' retirement system that will free up another $4.9 million.
City of Yonkers reaches budget deal