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Teachers Feel Proposed Cuts at Bedford Road School

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Although it’s more than likely her job will be safe, Eileen Prizeman pleaded Tuesday evening with members of the Pleasantville Board of Education to change their minds and not eliminate a teacher from the Bedford Road Elementary School, as they have proposed.

“I have to say that everyone at that school is a part of a very hardworking group of people,” Prizeman said, a second-grade teacher at Bedford Road School for more than 20 years.  “And if you eliminate that person, then other teachers have to pick up the slack.”

At Tuesday night’s meeting in Pleasantville High School, the school board announced as part of its proposed budget presentation that there are plans to eliminate one full-time employee from the elementary school for the 2012-13 school year.  The elimination is estimated to save the district roughly $200,000 from last year’s budget.  Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter and the rest of the board haven’t announced which section of the school would be affected.  Fox-Alter did emphasize that full-day kindergarten would remain intact and that class sizes would not see a significant increase.

Prizeman said that eliminating a staff member from Bedford Road School is especially painful after the district’s teacher’s union came to a contract agreement in January that said they were willing to take a two-year pay freeze that is expected to save the district around $1 million over the next five years.

“We really gave up a lot and now the district is even going to take away more from us,” Prizeman said.  “And that hurts.”

Fox-Alter said that going forward, the district would continue to offer the same programs and services.

“The goal and priority in this district has always been to provide for the better of our students,” Fox-Alter said.

Yet, for some teachers like Prizeman, that may not be as easy as it sounds.

“Every year it’s always a bigger work load for us and even my husband says to me, ‘You’ve been doing this for 20 years, how difficult can it be?’” Prizeman said.  “And it doesn’t get any easier.”

The final budget will be voted on and adopted by the board of education on April 17 and will be voted on by the residents of Pleasantville on May 15.

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