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Assembly Member Latimer Visits Port Chester Students

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. -- Assembly member George Latimer visited students from both Port Chester High School and Port Chester Middle School on Thursday morning to discuss and field questions regarding the state budget process and how it affects the district.

Most of the high school discussion focused on budget cuts and particularly what can be done to save some of the school's programs.

"I think the most important thing you can do is express your opinions in a tangible form," Latimer said. "Most importantly what unfortunately doesn't happen is students will talk amongst themselves, and won't coalesce and put together a lobbying effort to stop particular things from being cut."

With the implementation of the 2 percent property tax cap, the district has estimated that the budget deficit for the 2012-13 school year could hover just under $3 million. The district was originally supposed to release the superintendentÂ’s budget at the board of education's Feb. 9 meeting but has since postponed the unveiling to March 8.

While the district announced a bump in state aid last month, Superintendent of Business Maura McAward has previously stated that it wasn't enough.

"I think I have a fairly strong case for why Port Chester is uniquely impacted, and I think there is a strong case for additional state aid," Latimer said. "What I'm concerned about is that state aid is a one year solution. We now live in a tax cap world."

Port Chester High School student Melissa Dick said that the discussion helped explain some questions she had.

"I didn't understand why they are thinking about taking away things from kids who excel," Dick said. "But it's more clear now."

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