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Parents Share New Rochelle School Budget Concerns

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Laurie Forkas, a parent of three sons at Davis Elementary School stood before the New Rochelle Board of Education during its budget review session at the New Rochelle High School Library on Tuesday to encourage the board to add an additional fifth grade teacher.

“I believe that one of the keys to successful learning is to provide an encouraging environment for our children to learn,” said Forkas.

New Rochelle Assistant Superintendents of Schools Jeff Korostoff and Diane Massimo presented numbers and proposed cuts regarding curriculum instruction. This included elementary and secondary education, pupil services, medical services, guidance and special education

“Teachers generally have a better morale in a small class, too, and are less likely to feel overwhelmed by having a variety of students with different backgrounds and achievement levels. As a result, they are more likely to provide a supportive environment,” Forkas said. “Reducing the size of classes in the early grades reduces the distractions in the room, and gives the teacher more time to devote to each child.”

Preliminary budget findings call for a $5 million reduction from this year’s maintenance budget, a proposed reduction in district staff, the possible elimination of nearly 63 positions – down from the original 90 proposed when the budget was first put together – leaving the district with almost 220 positions that have been eliminated over the last three years, according to Superintendent Richard Organisciak.

As a result of the 2 percent tax cap set by the state, the preliminary budget shows a 1.09 percent increase, resulting in a projected tax rate increase of 4.05 percent for the 2012-13 school year.

Some of the cuts could be reinstataed in the near future if New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo approves budgets sent to him by the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly , which would send money to school districts throughout the state.

“This is the most current information we have right now, and it’s definitely going to change over the next weeks,” Organisciak said.

The New Rochelle School District does not know how much additional funding it will receive, but a couple thousand is expected at least. The funding could be granted to the district for specific uses by the state, but it is not certain.

The third budget review session will be held this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the New Rochelle High School Library where general support areas such as technology will be discussed.

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