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Harrison Schools Recover $46,000 In Lost State Funding

Assembly member David Buchwald and school officials announce that Harrison schools will receive $46,000 in state funding that had been lost as a penalty in January.
Assembly member David Buchwald and school officials announce that Harrison schools will receive $46,000 in state funding that had been lost as a penalty in January. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Harrison schools will receive $46,000 in state funding that was lost earlier this year as a penalty for the district turning in its teacher evaluation plan 19 minutes late in January.

The district was asked to resubmit its plan to the state Department of Education on Jan. 17 after the state took issue with its standards for evaluating high school principals. The revised plan was submitted just after midnight and was accepted by the state, but the district was penalized $46,000 in this year's budget and every year moving forward.

"That was an injustice," said Assembly member  David Buchwald when announcing the restoration of the funding Monday.

"We have decided in New York State to change the policy so that going forward school districts and our children will no longer be punished for what happened in past years with regard to evaluation plans, that there will not be this ongoing penalty," Buchwald said. "This sends the right message to mothers in Harrison, fathers in Harrison and educators in Harrison that we're going to put the needs of our students first over bureaucratic technicalities."

Superintendent Lou Wool thanked Buchwald for fighting to restore the funding.

"We insisted as we have in our entire existence that we have very high standards in Harrison, and our reluctance to compromise on those standards resulted in an extended argument with the state Education Department, where they finally ultimately forced us to lower our standards," Wool said.

He said that the change in statute was important. "No district will ever be in this circumstance again of having to lower their standards."

Lynn Kaplan of the Harrison PT Council said, "I think we're all very lucky to live in a town where we have such a great partnership between the community, the school board, the superintendent, the teachers and the employees of the school system to provide really quality education to all the students and all the children in Harrison."

Karen Magee of the Harrison Association of Teachers said said she was grateful that the situation was resolved.

"It's easy for elected officials to come out and say they will do the right thing, but you actually have done the right thing," she said.

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