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Briarcliff Schools Face Major Budget Cuts

Briarcliff Board of Education President Sal Maglietta says the school district is looking for community input on major budget cuts.
Briarcliff Board of Education President Sal Maglietta says the school district is looking for community input on major budget cuts. Photo Credit: Nathan Bruttell

BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. ? Briarcliff schools could lose as many as 60 employees, including 12 teachers, as the district struggles to make $4.6 million in cuts.

"What we are looking at are major challenges," said Superintendent Neal Miller.

Under a first-draft proposed budget for 2013-14 presented to the Board of Education this week, Briarcliff is considering the elimination of 12 teachers, 34 teacher assistants, one administrator and at least two other staff members, for a reduction of $3.1 million. But this would still not get the district to Briarcliff's state-mandated 3.3 percent tax levy cap. In order to reach the cap, the district would need to make approximately $1.5 million in additional cuts.

The school projected to be hit hardest by the staff reductions is Todd Elementary School, where class sizes would increase by around one student in each grade. Fiona Collins, a teacher at Todd, said she doesn't know how the school could function normally with the additional cuts.

"How much can we ask the classroom teachers to do and still expect a quality product?" Collins said.

The proposed budget also calls for around $100,000 in cuts to the district's athletic department, which includes eliminating modified sports teams for soccer, baseball, lacrosse and basketball; as well as reductions in supplies and scrimmages against other schools.

Board of Education President Sal Maglietta said it has not been decided how budget cuts will be made and that the district is looking for input from the community.

"We are still in the information-gathering stage of this budget," Maglietta said. "We need to know the community's input."

If the district used the same budget as this year's, it would have a tax levy increase of around 15 percent. Any budget that is over the cap needs a 60 percent approval vote from residents. The budget will be voted on by the public on May 21.

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