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JFK Students in Port Chester Fight to Save ELC

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. - Despite hearing last week's announcement that the Port Chester-Rye Union Free School District will be forced to eliminate John F. Kennedy Magnet School's Early Learning Center in order to bridge the $2.1 million budget deficit, parents and students from the district's elementary school are not going down without a fight.

On Thursday members of the district's administration agreed to take less in pay increases and shift to one single insurance provider, which should help mitigate some of the cuts.

On Friday the school will hold a pajama fundraiser where students will donate money to wear pajamas to school for the day. In previous years the donations were capped at $1 and the contributions went towards the JFK PTA. However, due to the budget crisis, the school has offered the sum of the donations, however small, to the district.

JFK PTA President Terry Taylor said the idea for the fundraiser came to her after being approached by parents after the March 8 board of education meeting.

"Parents came up to me after the meeting saying 'What can we do,' 'What can we do,' and that's how the whole thing got started," Taylor said. "Our PTA wanted to do something to highlight the fact that this is going on and to get people aware of the deficit in Port Chester."

Taylor also spoke about how important the pajama drive is to the children who are yearning to help save the school.

"Little kids need to feel like they can do something too, and this is a vehicle for them to feel empowered and feel like they are helping," Taylor said.

While Taylor expects the fundraiser to exceed last year's total of $577, she knows that the school's contribution will just be a drop in the bucket.

"I don’t think we’re going to come up with $2 million, that would be way too many pajamas," Talyor said chuckling. "We aren’t going to do it with pajamas, we are going to need help from Albany."

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