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Harrison Board of Ed Approves School Budget

HARRISON, N.Y. – The Harrison Board of Education approved the tentative 2012-13 school budget, which would hike taxes 1.97 percent.

Facing a 2 percent cap on the tax levy for the first time, Superintendent Louis Wool said that it was an “exhausting” process for all involved. The budget, which must be voted on by Harrison residents, calls for a $104.2 million spending plan, a 1.07 percent increase from the 2011-12 school budget.

Wool said the plan calls for the elimination of 13 positions district-wide, including one administrative position. All cuts would be made to positions either currently vacated or that have someone retiring at the end of the year, thus no current employee would lose their job, he said.

“We realized that there would be cuts but we were fortunate this year that we have a downturn in our enrollment,” Wool said. “That is quite a fortuitous break but we are not sure we will see that again in the future.”

The district is also planning to downsize and reorganize its custodial staff that Wool said will result in further savings. According to Assistant Superintendent for Business Robert Salierno, further cuts would be made to special education but all its programs would be preserved.

“We can’t say nothing in this budget will be changed but quite frankly the state was not clear about what they were expecting school districts to do to make sure all their assumptions about the cap on the tax levy were correct,” Wool said.

School board member Joan Tiburzi said the board’s first priority was to maintain class size while not affecting any of the district’s programs already in place.

“I’m really proud of the work that our administrative team has done to meet our goals,” Tiburzi said. “We, as a board, gave a very strong and direct edict at the beginning of the school year and we thank you for your work.”

A public hearing on the school budget will be held on Wednesday, May 2. The tentative budget will go to a public vote for adoption on Tuesday, May 15.

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