Scarsdale Forced to Rework School Budget in Light of Economic Downfall from COVID-19

Butler Field will not receive the sound system that was planned for in the budget.

Maroon Staff

Butler Field will not receive the sound system that was planned for in the budget.

Natalie Schonfeld

You may be tired of quarantine and sad you cannot see your friends, go out to eat, or even go to the park. All of Scarsdale High School has lost typical spring rituals including spring sports, theater productions, outdoor lunches, and social engagements. SHS seniors have arguably lost the most, including prom, senior options, and the ultimate high school milestone, graduation. Juniors have lost standardized testing dates, Junior Olympics, and college visits. But what students may not be aware of is that given the economic downturn COVID-19 has caused, with less funding from the state, the Scarsdale Board of Education has been forced to rework the 2020-2021 school budget. How will these adjustments affect the upcoming school year? Here is a guide to understand what to expect.

The School Board, meeting via Zoom during the mandated quarantine, has done its best to find ways to cut the budget that will not noticeably affect daily school life. The original proposed budget was $166,850,850, and the revised projection is $162,508,332.  Budget reductions are characterized by four groups: Core Educational Support, New Items, Safety, and Efficiencies. The Board considers the first category, Core Educational Support, the most important to reinstate as soon as possible.  

The main Core budget item to be cut is the renovation of the high school’s auditorium, which was valued at $1.95 million. Less costly Core items cut from this year’s budget include travel expenses for teachers to attend professional development conferences, as well as a summer program for faculty that allows them to adapt curriculum revisions. The Board considers Core projects essential, meaning that it intends to reinstate these undertakings as soon as possible.  

New items represent a range of innovations for both students and teachers. These reductions add up to over $553,000 in savings.  Some of the losses include concrete items such as flexible classroom furniture at SHS and Scarsdale Middle School, water bottle refilling stations, and ceiling fans. Other technology items to be cut include Remind texting and the College Kickstart program. The sound system to be installed at Butler Field has been cut along with the postponement of LED lights throughout the District.

Cuts to the Safety category are the smallest, valued at $143,800. Rest assured, these cuts only reflect changes to the physical plant and not to the safety of students, which remains a priority.

Efficiency cuts total $459,000 and include facilities management reductions that do not impact education and extracurriculars. These cuts will be felt in fuel, maintenance technology, and advertising.

For a full review of all proposed cuts to the 2020-2021 budget go to Scarsdale 2020-2021 Budget Study Session/Forum (March 30, 2020).