8.5% Tax Increase or $6,860,000 In Cuts for Half Hollow Hills

Filed under: Around Town,Half Hollow Hills Central School District,News |

The Half Hollow Hills School District faces major cuts, as enrollment drops from  9,882 in year 2011 to 8,855 in 2014-15 which represents a 1,027 student decline. The district faces increases in Pensions, Health Costs and Salaries. In order to pierce the 2% tax cap the school board would require a super majority vote.  In the case of HHH a tax increase of 8.5% would be required to offset any proposed cuts. In order for the district to stay under the cap, $6,860,000 would need to be trimmed from the budget.  The district held a workshop on January 7th to discuss the options.

During the 2012-13 budget process the district was running a $9 million dollar deficit.  This years budget finds the district in the same predicament with an anticipated $9.5 million deficit.  The plan for this year is to reduce the deficit to $6.8 million by using reserves of $2.1 million and additional cuts of $500,000.

As per the district notice which was sent to it’s residents,  items on the chopping block include Elementary Summer School ($250,000), Secondary Summer School ($90,000), and the elimination of Elementary Health Teachers ($200,000). These cuts total $540,000.

The district is providing three scenarios for this budget cycle which include closing either Chestnut Hill Elementary, Candlewood Middle School, or Hills West High School. The chart below depicts the diffferent school closing scenario’s. Each scenario also  indicates how much additional cuts would be necessary.


  2013 Proposed budget Close Chestnut
Hill Elementary
  Candlewood Middle
  Hills West HS
Budget Deficit $9,500,000 $9,500,000   $9,500,000   $9,500,000
Known eliminations $(540,000) $(540,000)   $(540,000)   $(540,000)
Reserves to be used $(2,100,000) $(2,100,000)   $(2,100,000)   $(2,100,000)
Saves from Facility Closure   $(1,000,000)   $(3,000,000)   $(5,000,000)
Additional Cuts needed $6,860,000 $5,860,000   $3,860,000   $1,860,000
Combination of all other proposed cuts            
Total Elementary school eliminations $2,400,000          
Total Secondary school eliminations $5,170,000          
Total District Wide Eliminations $613,175          


Combination of all other proposed cuts

Total Elementary school eliminations (see Choices below)  $    2,400,000

Total Secondary school eliminations (see Choices below)    $    5,170,000

Total District Wide Eliminations (see Choices below)            $        613,175


  Elementary School Programs
$1,000,000 Reduce full day kindergarten to half day . currently there are 24 sections of kindergarten in the District; students attend a full day program.
$590,000 Eliminate all elementary band, chorus and orchestra. currently there is band, chorus and orchestra instruction provided at each elementary school for 1,561 students. The costs include the full time salaries of six teachers as well as stipends for before and after school rehearsals and concerts.
$500,000 Eliminate all elementary AHAP and enrichment programs. The AHAP program serves high achieving students in grade 3 in a half day and grades 4. 5 in a one day per week pullout program at Forest Park Elementary School for 110 students. Enrichment services all students in grades 2 . 5 in 10 week cycles.
$100,000 Eliminate non-mandated speech improvement services for elementary students . These services are provided weekly to 300 non special education elementary school children as a support service.
$30,000 Eliminate all elementary after school clubs and intramurals . These funds are for clubs at seven elementary schools including intramurals, Math Olympiads and student council.
$25,000 Hills on Stage Fifth grade combined musical production.
$55,000 Adaptive Intramural Sports students with disabilities. Clinical Sports, Recreational Sports, and Adaptive Swim programs for student with disabilities.
$100,000 Close the Discovery Center located at the Fran Greenspan Administration Center, the Discovery Center (formerly known as the Shuttle Room) is a field trip destination for elementary school students.
$2,400,000 Total Elementary School Programs
  Secondary School Programs
$1,500,000 Change high school schedule to an eight period day. currently a nine period day is available to students in grades 9. 12.
$1,500,000 Change middle school schedule to an eight period day . currently a nine period day is available to students in grades 6 - 8. This would also limit the ability to continue teaming at the middle school.
$600,000 Combine high school Junior Varsity and Varsity teams. Currently there are 13 junior varsity teams and 23 varsity teams that are fielded at both High School East and High School West. In addition, there are a small number of combined East/West athletic teams.
$400,000 Eliminate all middle school athletic teams. There are currently 51 middle school athletic teams in the District.
$100,000 Reduce the number of middle school athletic teams.
$230,000 Eliminate drivers’ education program both classroom and driving. The drivers education program is offered three periods per day at both high schools and also has a road experience at no cost to parents.
$220,000 Eliminate the HS academic research program. The research program is facilitated by one full time research director as well as various teaching periods at both high schools.
$200,000 Reduce two guidance counselor positions at secondary level. There are currently eight guidance counselors at the middle school level and nineteen guidance counselors at the high school level.
$150,000 Eliminate all middle school after school clubs. These funds are for clubs at both middle schools including intramurals, student government, and academic clubs.
$100,000 Close the Planetarium . The planetarium is located at High School East and is used as a field trip destination by our students across grade levels and academic disciplines.
$80,000 Eliminate all secondary level intramural sports . Secondary intramurals include supervised use of weight rooms as well as various sports during the course of the school year.
$90,000 Life Skills Work Study Program . The program provides vocational experiences both in the District and at various community job placements for students with disabilities.
$5,170,000 Total Secondary School Programs
  District wide Programs
$325,000 Close the Natatorium. The Natatorium (pool facility) is a standalone building at High School West used for school swim teams, adaptive aquatics, and community use.
$200,000 Eliminate after school busing for clubs and sports as well as field trips. Would require parent pick up for after school activities and sports.
$58,175 Eliminate public relations and graphic services. Public relations coordinator assists in development of the District Calendar, Budget Mailings, etcc
$30,000 Eliminate district photographer position . Photographer attends District events during the school day, evenings, and weekends, with photos used for publications, news releases, the website and yearbooks.
$613,175 Total District wide Programs
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