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New Rochelle Schools Poll: Honors Classes Are Critical

A recent poll by the New Rochelle City School District found the New Rochelle community cares most about preserving Advanced Placement and honors classes.
A recent poll by the New Rochelle City School District found the New Rochelle community cares most about preserving Advanced Placement and honors classes. Photo Credit: New Rochelle City School District

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Preserving honors classes and class size are the most critical issues among those who responded to the New Rochelle Schools’ budget survey, the district reported Wednesday.

More than 61 percent of the 300 people who completed the online survey said Advanced Placement and honors classes are essential to the district’s mission. In addition, 60.6 percent responders said class size was also of utmost importance.

The survey was launched in January to give the community a chance to weigh in on the most important aspects of the school district.

“We are delighted that once again, so many members of the New Rochelle community took the time to fill out the survey,” said Chrisanne Petrone, Board of Education president, in a written statement, adding that the feedback will be used to prepare the 2013-14 school budget.

The state-mandated 2 percent cap on the amount of money a school district can raise through property taxes, is one of the driving forces behind budget determinations at districts all over the state.

About 19 percent of respondents said they fully understand the cap and its ramifications, while 41 percent of respondents said they know about the cap and realize its impact on the budget. Approximately 30 percent said they have heard of the cap, but don’t know specifics.

As for what motivates voters to go to the polls, about 52 percent said it was the desire to maintain a high quality school system. About 20 percent of respondents said they were motivated to vote by the potential for their taxes to be raised or lowered, as well as by programs added, reduced or eliminated.

Sixty percent of those who took the survey said the information provided by the school district is adequate to understand the school budget and make an informed vote. Answers to an open-ended question for the forty-percent who voted “no” will be studied prior to unveiling the budget, according to the district.

Nearly 75 percent of respondents were parents or guardians of current school age children and 20 percent were community members without a child in school. About 69 percent of those who responded with children in school were elementary school parents. More than 75 percent of respondents said they are regular voters in school board elections.

School-budget review sessions with invited community discussion will be held at New Rochelle High School at 7 p.m. on March 7, March 12 and  March 14.

A public hearing will be held May 7, at the high school. Residents will vote on the budget May 21.  If residents have questions about the 2013-14 school district budget, they can email budgetquestions@nred.org .

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