After absorbing the bad news about next year's budget presented in November at the first of a series of budget sessions, the school board will start the discussion Tuesday about what can be cut to bring the spending and tax increases to a level the public will accept.
With rising pension costs, debt service and salaries, spending would have to increase by 6.6 percent to $116.6 million to carry over all the programs from this year.
"That was basically, put the shocker number out there and say what do we do now," school board President Janet Benton said.
The answer, Benton said, is that the numbers are unacceptable and the board must cut.
In Tuesday's discussion, the board will begin to look at nonpersonnel reductions that could be made.
Later, Benton said, the board will likely turn to instructional staff reductions to get to an acceptable number. Class sizes could be raised to contractual limits, she said.
"It's a big puzzle right now and not an easy one," Benton said.
The group New Castle Citizens for Responsible Education is urging residents to go to the meeting to advocate for a zero-increase budget.
The meeting will be at 8:15 p.m. at Horace Greeley High School, 70 Roaring Brook Road, Chappaqua.
After Tuesday, the next step is for Schools Superintendent John Chambers to present his budget recommendations Feb. 15. A series of meetings will be held in March and April before the board votes April 12.
The public will vote on the budget May 17.