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Harrison Parents Seek More Info on School Budget

HARRISON, N.Y. – Harrison parents questioned after the board of education meeting Wednesday night said they want more information about the budget before they make a final decision on whether or not to support it.

“I need to hear more details and what they would plan to cut,” said resident Laura Fontecchio. “I’m concerned about special education and which direction it is going in.”

According to Superintendent for Business Robert Salierno, the district needs to cut an additional $800,000 to get under the 2 percent state-imposed tax cap on the tax levy. Salierno said the district has already cut $3.1 million from when they began shaping it.

But not all residents are buying it. Resident Patrick Enright said he thinks the district saying that it has already cut money is just a way to cloud the financial issues. Enright said he would like to see some consolidation of the district’s business office for some savings.

“There’s a lot more that can be done,” Enright said. “They should cut more on the cost side to reduce the burden on the taxpayers. The New York State Comptroller recommended some steep cuts that I don’t think that the district is even considering.”

Currently, the district has not released a percentage on how much it plans to raise taxes, but Salierno said that the budget the district has been working on would increase spending by 1.8 percent from last years’ adopted budget. With $800,000 more to cut to get under the tax levy, Salerno said the preliminary budget would need to get down around the $104 million mark.

“We’ve been below 2 percent on the tax levy for the past three years,” Salierno said. “Some people might think that the tax cap is not that big of a deal but we’ve been living through creative ways to save money. Most school districts have been doing the same thing but this is not a process that is sustainable.”

More budget presentations will be held at the March 21 school board meeting. According to Superintendent Louis Wool, a tentative budget should be adopted by April 11. A public hearing on that budget will be held May 2.

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