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Port Chester Daily Voice serves Port Chester, NY

Reading Specialist Cuts Opposed in Port Chester

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. — Only a handful of Port Chester residents voiced opposition to the Boad of Education's adopted 2012-13 budget at the board's only budget hearing, Thursday night at JFK Magnet School.

On April 19 the Board of Education adopted a budget that increases the property tax levy by 2.70%, the maximum allowable under the new property tax levy cap. However, despite raising taxes to the limit, the board was unable to generate enough revenue to avoid cuts. Approximately 13.5 reading specialist teachers will be eliminated as a result.

The majority of speakers asked the board to reconsider its decision to eliminate the reading specialists. Mary Ellen Onofrio prepared a poem she said was inspired by Dr. Seuss.

"The people of port chester should be filled with dread with a decision made by the board of Ed," Onofrio said.  "We need to spend less, take a little from here and a little from there, but don’t take a problem and toss it in to thin air."

Former Port Chester teacher Joseph Rinello said the elimination of the reading specialists would adversly affect over 300 students.

"There will be a direct negative impact in our ELA preparation and results," Rinello said. "You are going to remove an integral spoke for our most needed students."

Port Chester Superintendent Edward Kliszus continued to urge residents to vote for the budget on May 15 at Port Chester Middle School. He warned that if the budget does not pass, the district will be forced to adopt a contingency budget and make $1.7 million in additional cuts.

"It's critical people come out and exercise their right to vote," Kliszus said.

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