HARRISON, N.Y. -- With the school district still having to cut $266,365 to get under the state imposed 2 percent cap on the tax levy, Harrison residents questioned said that they want the teaching staff preserved.
According to Superintendent Louis Wool, the cuts will come from across the district. Wool said that the school district is aiming to protect class size. Wool pointed out the elimination of the elementary school health program last year as an example of a program the district lost due to budget cuts and said that the district wants to keep its core programs that it has right now in place.
Residents questioned agreed with Wool about the programs the district offers. Resident Antonio Villavicencio moved to Harrison from the Bronx two years ago because of the school system. Villavicencio said that he doesn’t want to see anybody, especially teachers, lose their jobs.
“It’s a hard decision,” Villavicencio said. “The teachers in Harrison are good and I support all the programs here. It would be a bad thing if any teacher’s salary was cut.”
Resident Jesse Rome is also against cutting teachers. Like Villavicencio, Rome wants the current programs in the district preserved. Rome suggested cutting the amount of money the district pays for school supplies as one area to potentially save money.
“We are in one of the nicer communities around and I think people can afford to pay for this kind of thing themselves,” Rome said. “I just don’t want to see the district cut people. Most teachers can’t even afford to live in Harrison because of the high cost of living.”
Resident Ellen Lewis also does not want to see the district lose teachers but said that when cuts are made, it is usually the kids who are affected the most.
“It seems that in all communities any cut will affect our children,” Lewis said. “Anything that affects the kids should be the last thing to be cut.”
An update on the tentative school budget is set for the April 11 board of education meeting. A special meeting of the BOE will be held on April 18. A public hearing on the school budget is set for May 2.