Increase in state aid funding restored to HCSD

The Harrison Central School District’s reduction in state aid has been restored in its entirety despite a missed state deadline to file an annual teacher and principal performance evaluation plan.

School officials were given the formal approval of their evaluations from the state Education Department on Jan. 22, five days after the filing deadline. The state’s decision came after a debate with school district and state officials 15 minutes before the deadline regarding a measure added to the requirements of high school principal evaluations that take the percentage of students admitted into a four-year college into consideration.

First appeared in the April 5, 2013 edition of The Harrison Report

Prior to SED reversing course, district officials were under the assumption that Harrison would not be eligible for any increase in aid funding this year, unless the department backdates its approval.

The 2013-14 budget originally allocated $3.2 million in state aid funding for the Harrison Central School District, an increase of $98,175 from last year.

However, $46,000 of that increase was in jeopardy once the district failed to meet the state’s deadline for faculty evaluations.

During a Monday press conference alongside members of the Harrison Central School District Board of Education, Parent-Teacher Council, and the teachers union, state Assemblyman David Buchwald, a Democrat, said the district would have been be penalized $46,000 this year and every year going forward for the missed deadline and discussed the importance of the restored funding.

“The New York State budget fixes that injustice, so school districts and our children will no longer be punished,” Buchwald said.”

In addition to the district receiving its allotted share of state aid, Harrison school Superintendent Louis Wool said that a recent change in the state statute would ensure other districts are not penalized in perpetuity.

“The change in the statute is just as important,” Wool said. “This will have a wider effect for school districts across the state of New York.”

With the district’s portion of state aid fully restored, Board of Education President Dennis DiLorenzo said the district will continue its effort to meet its budgetary goal of maintaining existing school programming for students while staying within the guidelines of the mandated tax levy cap.

Karen Magee, president of the Harrison Association of Teachers, also commended local legislators for their role in restoring funding to the district.

“Our schools need continued adequate funding to provide our students with a proper education,” Magee said. “One that allows us to continue to focus on the individual needs of our students, which ultimately will set them up for a lifetime of success.”

According to Harrison Parent Teacher Council Co-President Lynn Kaplan, the efforts of the state brought the support of parents in the community as well.

“With this funding…we can continue to invest in our children’s education, keep our classrooms vibrant and provide students with necessary tools to succeed,” Kaplan said.



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