The Peekskill school district is retaining its elementary school librarian and four Spanish teaching positions in next year’s $78,403,667 budget proposal.
The school board made the announcement during Tuesday’s meeting, about two weeks after it announced the job cuts.
There is currently one elementary school librarian who’s shared by all three of the district’s elementary schools. Officials had planned to have classroom teachers take on the responsibility of developing library lesson plans next year.
School officials also planned to work with the Putnam-Northern Westchester BOCES to develop a distance learning language program, which they believed would’ve negated the need for the four Spanish teachers.
“I still have a job,” Nina Levine, the district’s middle school library specialist, said following Tuesday’s meeting.
Levine said she would have been the odd woman out because she has the least seniority out the district’s three remaining librarians.
“This is the third time that they’ve done this, so it’s always 50/50 if they’re going to put me back,” Levine said. “But I wasn’t expecting them to make this announcement tonight. I can’t wait to call my husband.”
James Willis, superintendent of Peekskill schools, said the school board decided to keep the jobs during executive session. To make up for the salaries of the librarian and language teachers, Willis said the district is holding off on hiring three administrative positions and a director of reading and literacy.
In all, Willis said the restored positions accounted for about $550,000 worth of salaries and benefits in the budget proposal.
“We felt that given what’s going on in the district, to reduce teachers and add administrative positions didn’t sit too well, even if it’s necessary,” Willis said. “So we said fine, lets put it off for one year.”
Willis said the district still planned to incorporate distance learning for the language program next year, but on a much smaller scale.
Officials said they are still moving forward with plans to cut a technology instructor position. The district will instead rely on BOCES to offer additional learning opportunities for students.
A public hearing on the budget is scheduled for May 7. A public budget vote is scheduled for May 21.