By PHIL NOBILE
The public voted to pass the Harrison Central School District’s $99.7 million budget on May 20 with 1,312 votes for and 446 votes against.
For the average Harrison homeowner, the approved budget calls for a 3.58 percent tax rate increase, meaning an additional cost of $379 per year in property tax. A 1.01 percent increase over last year’s $97.1 million budget allowed for the budget to remain under the state mandated 3.42 percent tax levy cap.
Superintendent Louis Wool thanked school officials and Board of Education members as the numbers were announced. He said the four voting districts—Harrison Avenue Elementary, Preston Elementary, Purchase Elementary and Parsons Memorial Elementary—passed the budget unanimously for the third year in a row.
“We continue to be grateful for the support that we get from our community in very challenging financial times,” Wool said.
The now official budget calls for the elimination of the elementary school foreign language program, cutting the jobs of four teachers and saving the district $490,044.
Robert Salierno, Harrison’s assistant superintendent of business, said budget constraints caused the program to never evolve as planned, leading to its demise.
According to Salierno, this year’s budget will eliminate the district’s remaining debt by paying off the last $1.8 million the district owes, which will allow for more financial flexibility in the future.
School board elections pro-ved to be uneventful as three new candidates were voted in without any opposition.
Replacing three incumbent board members who chose not to seek re-election, Kelly Mulvoy-Mangan, Melinda Wolverton and Robert Sullivan, Jr. won seats as school board trustees, taking Paul Curtis, Philip Silano and David Singer’s seats, respectively.
“The support each candidate got, garnering close to a 1,000, is a statement about the quality of the candidates, and I think the level of commitment on the part of the community to support their schools,” Wool said.
Mangan, a retired lawyer and stay-at-home mom got 994 votes. In an interview with the Review earlier this month, she said New York State’s restraints in terms of tax caps and unfunded state mandates were “impacting the district’s ability to execute the vision and goals it has of providing the children of Harrison with the best education possible.”
“We need to make the community understand the enormous difficulties created by the state government and create a voice letting Albany know we deserve the money that they have taken for our schools,” Mangan said.
Sullivan, a married father of two Harrison school district students and a patent attorney for Fish & Richardson P.C. garnered 961 votes. He agreed with Mangan about state constraints, adding his support for previous school boards over the years.
Wolverton got 919 votes. She served as the treasurer of the PTA and a class parent, and told the Review her financial background will help the new school board going forward.