Blind Brook-Rye SD school budget fails to pass for 2023-2024 school year
All but four school budgets in the Hudson Valley region passed for the 2023 - 2024 school year.
One of those four is the budget for the Blind Brook school district in Westchester County.
The Blind Brook-Rye School District Budget did get a majority vote with 55% approval, but the district needed a supermajority of 60% because the district was seeking to exceed the tax levy cap.
District Superintendent Dr. Colin Byrne says he attributes the 10.85% tax levy increase in part to rising health care costs.
"This year alone, costs have gone up about $1 million, which is a huge increase for us, and we are expecting additional increases coming in next year," he says. Another factor is inflation.
"Everything has gone up, services, utilities all of our costs are just going up," says Byrne. The district was the only one in the region to exceed the tax levy cap of 2%. Byrne says the tax levy increase is needed to make ends meet in the tiny district of 1,200, which is among the top public school districts in the region.
The district will get a second chance to present the budget for a vote on June 20. School leaders will be discussing if there are parts of the budget that can be cut in the coming weeks. If voters reject the budget a second time, the district will have to revert to a contingency budget that would freeze the tax levy at the current level. The superintendent says that would mean major cuts to programs and likely extracurricular activities.
Three other budgets were rejected outright by voters on Tuesday.
In Elmsford, the district says it will be preparing a new budget with input from the community to present to voters on June 20.
In Minisink Valley, the school board will meet on May 24 to discuss the district's options and next steps.
East Ramapo School District officials tell News 12 they are deeply disappointed with the result, and district administrators and the Board of Education will consider the next steps in this budget process.