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Harrison Schools Aim to Cut 13 Positions

HARRISON, N.Y. — A total of 13 positions, mostly in Harrison's elementary schools, will be eliminated in the next school year but no current employees will lose their jobs, said Assistant Superintendent for Business Robert Salierno.

The school district is targeting positions that were either vacant or are filled by someone retiring at the end of the school year, said Superintendent Louis Wool. Slots for teachers, administrators, clerical workers and custodians will be cut, Wool said. A retirement incentive has been offered with enrollment declining districtwide, he said.

He said the process of deciding what positions to be cut came with lot of “feedback” and “support” from community members.

“We looked at the vacancies and are seeing how we can reorganize our custodial staff while maintaining the programs, oversight and maintenance of our buildings,” Wool said. “We don’t believe that we can possibly continue this way in the future under the existing state mandates.”

Those mandates drive up the cost of any district’s budget as some, including Harrison, had to decide what to cut to get under the 2 percent tax levy cap imposed by the state this year. Salierno said he expects the tentative budget to increase the tax levy by 1.97 percent. Wool said the budget-to-budget increase is expected to come in at about 1.07 percent.

The school district had to cut $266,000 in the proposed 2012-13 budget over the past three weeks to get under the cap on the tax levy. Salierno said $144,000 was cut from expenditures. But with sales tax revenue trending upward, he said he was able to increase the revenue side of the budget by $125,000.

“Just think about running your house on a 1 percent increase,” Wool said. “You have to go through things like how much heating oil to use or how much you drive your car. We looked at surrounding districts that have not had the oversight that we had and are seeing significant layoffs and reductions. We have not experienced that yet in Harrison but careful planning can only take you so far.”

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