School Budget Calls for Same Tax Rate as Last Year

Assistant Superintendent for Business Ron Clamser Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— The tentative 2017-18 Mahopac school budget calls for the same tax levy and tax rate as last year with no cuts to programs or positions.

The $120,748,784 spending package is up just half a percent ($629,732) from last year’s budget of $120,119,052.

The tax levy—the total amount to be collected by taxes—is $84,000,268, essentially the same amount that was collected last year.

Sign Up for E-News

The tax rate last year in Carmel was $40.50 for every $1,000 of assessed property value, which was based on 60 percent total value. That’s on course to remain the same. However, in the wake of the recent townwide revaluation, a number of properties have been assessed higher, so their taxes could increase as a result.

“People feel because assessments went up, the school is getting more money,” said Ron Clamser, assistant superintendent for business and human resources. “That’s not the case. The amount of money we get stays the same. Think of it like a pizza. The size of the pie has stayed the same, it’s just the size of slices that make up the pie that have changed. Some have gotten bigger; some have gotten smaller; some have stayed the same.”

Administration costs total $8.7 million (down $31,994 from last year); program costs are at $98.3 million (up $566,116); and capital project expenses come in at $13.8 million (up $95,610).

The biggest part of the expenditure side of the ledger is instruction and service, which makes up 58.69 percent; and benefits and debt service are 27 percent.

On the revenue side, property taxes make up the biggest part of the pie at 69.67 percent. The district will also receive about $33 million in state aid, almost $1.1 million more than last year, Clamser said.

This year’s budget  calls for the renewal of the sound system and stage at the high school and new snow removal equipment for the high school turf field.

“We do stuff like that every year,” Clamser said.

The district will also seek to bring in some new employees.

“We are doing some hiring,” Clamser said. “We are bringing services back to kids that were eliminated during the tough budget cycles of a few years ago.”

The budget calls for the hiring of a high and middle school technology specialist; two English and non-native language (ENL) teachers; as well as a special ed teacher, teaching assistant, teacher’s aide and social worker for Austin Road Elementary.

“There are a couple kids in lower grades who need these services and more coming into the kindergarten,” Clamser said. “We could send them out or create our programs in-house. We feel we can do cheaper.”

Also coming is a new K-12 curriculum specialist to enhance student achievement; a K-5 enrichment teacher and/or 1 PE teacher; a high school STEAM teacher; an elementary school assistant principal; and a computer information systems data manager.

“We are going to handle our own data reporting,” Clamser said of the hiring of the data manager. “We want more local control. We were using BOCES, but it wasn’t as effective. This is a budget savings in the short-term.”

Clamser said there were no layoffs, though there was some minor consolidation.

“We did have some retirements as well and we will replace them with a less expensive person,” he said.

Another cost saving was a retirement incentive the district offered employees this year.

“We are waiving the one-year notice they have to give before retirement, Clamser said. “They can go now and we’ll replace with a cheaper person. They can cash out on accrued sick leave and retire. Before, they’d have to give a year’s notice, but now we are waving that notice.”

One of the biggest savings, Clamser said, came from retirement pension costs.

“The contribution rate [for the district] went down several percentage points,” he noted. “So, the main drivers for the budget not going up are attrition, and pension costs going down. And taxes are not going up because of the increase in state aid.”

In preparing the budget, school officials said their vision was that every student “will graduate a lifelong learner who is well prepared to be a productive contributor in our ever-changing world.”

They also put forth a list of five priorities that guided them in their budget preparation:

• Communication – develop and refine systems of proactive, transparent, honest and timely internal and external communication

• Effective systems – Develop and articulate efficient systems to support both mission and vision

• A growth mindset – Nurture a growth mindset and support personal and professional growth in all stakeholder groups

• Progressive instruction – Support progressive instructional practices that are rigorous, relevant and technology-embedded

• Building relationships/celebrating success – Proactively build the district’s image by emphasizing relationships and celebrating success

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


The Hatch Act and Immigration Updates

This is for information purposes only. So, when you see headlines like the recent “Kellyanne Conway cited for two violations of the Hatch Act,” you will have a working knowledge of what it means. First off, what is the Hatch Act? This has nothing to do with Orrin Hatch, senator from Utah. Simply put, it states one cannot advocate for or against candidates while serving in an official ...

There Is Always More to the Story

If you are getting your information from CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times or others in the mainstream media, you would think the Russians are no good dirty scoundrels, colluding with Trump to steal the election from the rightful heir, Hillary Clinton.

The leading Democrats in New York are all on board with this scenario, as are Democrats representing states across the country. You have heard ...

The ‘Feminist’ President ... Ha!

Incredibly, it wasn’t until 1987 that Congress finally acknowledged the part women have played in the great movements of American history, declaring March to be National Women’s History Month.

And each year since, as March rolls around, U.S. presidents have stood at the lectern, extolling the virtues of American women. In President Trump’s statement, released last week, he ...

To Harrison, L'Chaim!

At long last, the smile of spring approaches, as an angry winter recedes into good riddance. Our spirit is ready to be re-charged. Damn the power outages, full speed ahead!

For my wife, Elyse, daughter, Elissa, and me, this otherwise exuberant time of year brings a confusion of mixed emotions. In 2003, on the opening day of spring, March 20, which happens to be my birthday, our 15-year-old son ...

Anytown USA's Reality TV Show

Nowhere is the raw power of our Constitution’s First Amendment more earnestly practiced than in thousands of town halls across the land every time a citizen steps up to the podium to say his piece.

That also is where reality television can be seen at its rawest, as town meetings are televised to the local populace. All the familiar production values of reality TV are there in full color: ...

When It's Not OK to Ask If Everything's OK

There is this thing that I do that annoys the heck out of my family. Well, to be honest, there are a lot of things I do that annoy the heck out of my family, but I am thinking of one thing in particular.

Whenever someone is in the bathroom for what I determine to be an abnormally long period of time, I stand outside the bathroom door and yell,


I ...

I'm All Pumped Up

This time last year, I struggled with my New Year’s resolution to go to the gym.

This year, I have made significant progress. I am going to the gym on a semi-regular basis. And by semi-regular, I mean, I go often enough that I actually remember where it’s located between visits.

The bad news, however, is that my workouts are just, how would you say it? Lame. Yes, they’re ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 7:30 PM

First Presbyterian Church of Yorktown, Yorktown Heights

Concert March 17: Songs of the Heart and the ...

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

South Putnam Animal Hospital, Mahopac

PCDOH Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Health & Wellness

Sat, March 24, 2:00 PM

South Putnam Animal Hospital, Mahopac

PCDOH Free Rabies Vaccination Clinic

Health & Wellness

Safety Is Schools' Top Priority

March 14, 2018

To the editor,

[Editor’s note: The following letter was sent by School Superintendent Anthony DiCarlo to Mahopac families and the school community.]

We are all saddened by the tragic events that took place in Parkland, Fla., several weeks ago, Mahopac’s collective thoughts and prayers for healing and strength are directed toward the families and students of Parkland.

I want ...