Bedford School Budget Passes; Incumbent Board Members Win Seats

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Andrew Bracco, second from left, Eric Karle, center, and Edward Reder, right, won Bedford school board seats. The candidates are pictured at a recent forum.
Andrew Bracco, second from left, Eric Karle, center, and Edward Reder, right, won Bedford school board seats. The candidates are pictured at a recent forum. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- Voters approved the Bedford Central School District's 2014-15 budget by a large margin.

District results show that the budget passed with 1,350 votes in favor to 763 votes against. At $126.5 million, the budget includes a spending increase of 1.15 percent. The tax levy, which is the total amount of the budget's tax revenue, will increase by 1.41 percent. The budget also includes a total of 18.8 job cuts.

The projected tax rates, which form the basis of what taxpayers owe, are expected to vary among the district's five towns. Bedford is set to get a decrease of 2.99 percent, while Mount Kisco is expected to get an increase of 5.75 percent. Pound Ridge, New Castle and North Castle are expected to get respective percentage increases of 4.31, 8.86 and 7.84. The district attributes the gap to equalization rate and property value changes.

Meanwhile, all incumbent school board members will remain. Mount Kisco resident Andrew Bracco was re-elected to his seat with 1,092 votes to 982 for his challenger, Pound Ridge's Colette Dow.

The lack of anyone from Pound Ridge on the board was an issue connected to Dow's campaign. The board will continue to have four Mount Kisco residents and three Bedford residents.

Vice President Eric Karle and board member Edward Reder, meanwhile, swapped seats, with Reder winning a full term and Karle filling an unexpired term. Karle, a Mount Kisco resident, ran unopposed and received 1,203 votes.

Reder, who also lives in Mount Kisco, won with 1,146 votes, defeating opponent and Bedford Corners resident Brian Sheerin, who got 861 votes. Reder joined the school board last September when he was appointed to fill a seat vacated by Lee Goldstein, Daily Voice previously reported.

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Comments (6)

it is really dissapointing that the same people were again voted onto the board. They have done a poor job fiscally, with overblown budgets, and they get voted back in. The fact that Pound Ridge does not have representation and pays the greater percentage of taxes and cost per student, is unacceptable. They, along with anyone who helped draft the budgets, should resign instead of run for the seats again.

There used to be a "Gentlemen's Agreement" where every town in the BCSD got at least one seat on the school board. No longer.

The academic performance of PRES has dropped like a lead balloon over the past two decades. It used to be one of the top 10 performing elementary schools in Westchester County. No longer.

As a result, the number of Pound Ridge residents enrolling at PRES has fallen almost in half and the cost per student continues to rise, Moreover, Mt Kisco doesn't enforce its housing laws.

The school district will continue to deteriorate and spending will continue to increase until the voters elect a proactive, fiscally responsible school board which puts children and taxpayers first, ahead of the administration and the union.

if this doesn't happen, Pound Ridge should leave the district.

A "Gentleman's Agreement" should not be necessary. When multiple towns are cobbled together to create a school district each town should be guaranteed the right to have representation on the school board, in the same way that states such as Rhode Island and Delaware are guaranteed representation in Congress. The BCSD charter needs to be amended in a hurry in order to correct such an egregious inequity. Would Mount Kisco be OK with it if NYC got to elect Mount Kisco's representative to the NYS Assembly?

Pound Ridge residents must rally around one of its own citizens the next time a candidate decides to run for the school board. Both incumbents who won the election also voted for the increased budget that certainly could have been proposed and passed without an increase. Mount Kisco representatives will certainly exercise their influence going forward against the interests of Pound Ridge. During the televised school board meetings this year, there was not one discussion about the comparative costs per pupil per town. Don't expect there to be one going forward.

The voters in Pound Ridge spoke loud and clear: the Bedford Central School District is not aligned with the needs and wants of this town. This has been the case for some time now. Tuesday's vote was just further confirmation of this fact. PRES was the only school that went overwhelmingly for Colette Dow (486-108) and Brian Sheerin (361-172). The budget passed in the other 4 elementary schools, but not in Pound Ridge. It garnered 69% yes votes in the rest of the district. Only 49% yes in Pound Ridge (268 yes - 278 no). Pound Ridge taxpayers are getting soaked as the first commenter pointed out. We are not getting our money's worth. $45K per student?! Mt. Kisco pays around $19K per head for each student they have in the district. They pay 18% of the school bill, yet have 33% of the enrollment. They have 4 of 7 school board seats. This is a travesty.

It is time for Pound Ridge to protect itself, its home values and what's best for the parents and children who reside here. We cannot be one big happy school community when one part of that community (ours) is consistently taken advantage of. We need PRES to have a strong school ranking, put an end to the busing that helps to destroy those rankings and our property values, we need a tax levy we can swallow and we need those who are most qualified to actually have spots on the school board. Dow and Sheerin ran on similar platforms, where fiscal prudence and creative solutions to curriculum challenges took center stage. They sought to buck the status quo. The superintendent would answer to them (and not the other way around). But, "the machine" and a bike-run founder came out and used fear to swing the vote over at MKES, BHES & WPES --per usual. These two were actually overqualified for this board, which is exactly why the community should've been out in droves for them.

Pound Ridge sent $29 million of its $42 million in taxes to the BCSD last year. And still, the BCSD board and the district administration thinks that this town will accept no representation at the table. Think again.

The groundswell has just begun.
Pound Ridge must consider whether it should have a future in the BCSD.

Something is radically wrong when the more populous towns in a school district get to pack every board seat with their local candidates, and prevent the less populated town (Pound Ridge) from being able to elect even one person to a seven member board, yet Pound Ridge contributes more school taxes per student than any other town. Taxation without representation- thought we did away with that in 1776.