Response to Community 2011-2012 Budget Questions


John Chambers


March 2, 2011


Those who have written or called


CCSD 2011-2012 Superintendent's Budget Proposal

Thanks from Board and Administration

The Board and the District's administrators appreciate the time and thought invested by all those who have offered comments, questions, or suggestions regarding the 2011-2012 budget proposal presented on February 15, 2011. Please be assured that all such communications will be seen by all members of the Board, and we will try to follow up with individual responses wherever possible. Board members and administrators will reach out by email, telephone, or in person.

The messages we have received include advocacy for reductions even beyond those outlined in the proposal, counter balanced by advocacy for restoration of one or more items, even with consequent increases in spending. In the latter category valued teachers have been often mentioned, along with program concerns in each of the areas outlined in the budget proposal.

Questions have touched these same topics, but also raised issues such as tax levy prospects, possible use of reserves, contingency budget levels, and longer range plans. Suggestions have also been offered, and will likewise have careful consideration by the Board and administration.

Next Steps: March-April Budget Meetings

At the March 1 Board meeting we began to address these topics earlier than planned in our original time-line. This process will continue through all the sessions (March 15, March 29, April 5) leading up to the Board's obligation to formally adopt their own budget proposal on April 12, for submission to the District's voters on May 17.

Additions to the original schedule are shown below in italics. As the calendar unfolds, further revisions may be considered as questions and comments continue to come forth.

March 1, 2011 8:15PM Bell Middle School

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Technology
  • Proposed Budget 2011-2012

    • How Did We Get Here? (to 1.78% proposal)
    • Seven Bridges Teams/Sections
    • Draft Tax Levy/Tax Rate Estimates

      • (without fund balance)
      • (with fund balance)

March 15, 2011 8:15PMHorace Greeley High School

  • Special Education
  • Operations & Maintenace
  • Response to Questions and Comments

    • HGHS Class Sizes - Instructional Staff Reduction
    • Contingency Budget - Estimates

March 29, 2011 8:15PM Horace Greeley High School

  • Athletics
  • Non-Instructional
  • Fund Balance
  • Response to Questions and Comments

    • HGHS Class Sizes - Instructional Staff Reduction
    • 5-Year Planning
    • 5-Year Projections

April 5, 2011 8:15PM Horace Greeley High School

  • Revenues
  • Tax Rates
  • Contingency Budget - Latest Estimates
  • Response to Questions and Comments

    • Continue Budget Discussion

April 12, 2011 8:15PM Horace Greeley High School

  • Budget Adoption

May 3, 2011 8:15PM Horace Greeley High School

  • Budget Hearing

May 17, 2011 7:00AM-9:00PM Horace Greeley High School

  • Budget Vote/Board Election

Ultimately, the Board will make its final judgments on the same two strategic questions which have guided the administration in putting forth the budget proposal of February 15:

  • How can the District ensure that all students think deeply, support their thinking, apply problem-solving skills, and actively participate in their learning as they acquire content knowledge?
  • How can the District ensure continuing excellence in academic and extracurricular programs while developing a budget that is fiscally responsible?

Budget Pillars, Operating Standards

While the Board's bottom-line decisions on April 12 may differ from the administrative proposals of February 15, they will be based on the same central concerns and guidelines. Please allow me to say again here that the proposals of February 15 do indeed aim to ensure a continuation of "the tradition of excellence in teaching and learning" that has characterized the Chappaqua Schools. While we all deeply regret the loss of teaching and support staff positions based upon enrollment and class sizes (still within the District's good guidelines), I firmly believe that our proposals would preserve and continue the District's programs, and the excellent level of engagement with students. Otherwise, your administrators and I would not have made the proposals of February 15.

Thank you again for your participation in the ongoing challenges of the budget process.