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Peekskill School Librarian: ‘I Still Have a Job'

The Peekskill school board announced that it is restoring the elementary school librarian and four Spanish teaching positions into their $78.4 million budget proposal for next year. The board announced that it was cutting the positions earlier this mont

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.


jo May 01, 2013 at 01:46 PM
peekskill needs to get under or at the tax cap.. or I am voting NO... they need to get their affairs in order and their priorities .. more money for them just means more to squander. and what is up with hiring three new administrators, while cutting the foreign language program... I sold my house in Cortlandt cause their taxes were squeezing out the middle class..lots of seniors live in Peekskill and it is not in their best interest to go above the cap..
joshua tanner May 01, 2013 at 03:25 PM
Peekskill is a Spanish city. Its passing rate for Spanish Regents exams in 2011 was 100%. Its passing rate for English in 2011 was 66%.. Glad to see Peekskill woking hard to maintain its high performance in Spanish
Virginia Gilleo May 01, 2013 at 05:50 PM
hahahah Joshua you got that right
sayitsnotsojack May 01, 2013 at 06:39 PM
With such dismal results after spending so much money the people running the district have not gotten one clue on how to rectify the problems. Yet they and the unions continue demand and pay unsustainable salaries and benefits while throwing more and more money away thinking they can just tax, and tax, and tax. Vote NO on the budget and they will have to start making the changes necessary.
Mary Jane May 01, 2013 at 06:49 PM
This headline is laughable. Of course you still have a job, Nina. As a Dem district leader, did you really think your job was in jeopardy? http://www.peekskilldems.com/peekskill-democrats-district-leaders
leesther brown May 01, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Bring on the Guardian Academy..
Random May 02, 2013 at 12:33 AM
The Guardian Academy will increase taxes across the board and use uncertified teachers.. meaning they do not have the same NYS Teaching standards or licensing processes as public school teachers do. http://peekskillcommunityforschools.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/PCFS_may5.pdf
joshua tanner May 02, 2013 at 12:54 AM
Taxes are going up anyway (and up and up). We have certified teachers now and Peekskill is one of the worst schools in the state. Anybody who can fog a mirror can get a MA degree and certified in education these days. Pay the tuition bill - get a degree. That's about all there is to that.
leesther brown May 02, 2013 at 01:18 AM
@Random..at least we'd get a return on our investment...
Kirsten Berger May 02, 2013 at 01:25 AM
This is indeed good news that the librarian and the language teachers will still have the jobs and be there to educate our children.
Random May 02, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Charter schools are a way to privatize education & use tax payer money to do it. If I wanted my children to go to private school I would pay for them to go there. However, I do not believe that the Assumption should be getting my tax money to keep their building full under the auspices of "education". After all, thats why the Charter school was proposed in the first place. Secondly, I don't need my taxes to take a 14% hike within the next 6 years! With $14 million dollars being taken away from the school district in order to keep the Charter school open, if it were to happen, would take away from all of the other school buildings thus leading our children of the community with no clubs, activities, sports, electives, and many school programs to be cut from our schools. It would also require teachers being cut drastically. Thirdly, research shows that, on average, charter schools don’t outperform traditional public schools. Charter schools are just an easy way out to give up on our public schools. Instead of the community trying to change things in the schools we have now, our community would just be replacing the schools with a new name but the same students. Charter schools do not mean better results just because it has a new name.
Random May 02, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Fourthly, I would rather have a highly certified teacher any day of the week than a teacher with just an undergrauate degree. Isn't that the underlying factor as to why people are trying to oust Brian Havraneck from his position as City Manager, because he doesn't have a masters degree and isn't "highly qualified"? Same things goes for the charter schools.
joshua tanner May 02, 2013 at 03:20 AM
I wonder how many Rosetta Stone Spanish intruction kits could be bought for $550,000 dollars? Its incredible that a city with half its kids getting free/reduced lunch 5 jobs cost over a million bucks. The librarian I could live with but 4 teachers to teach Spanish in a Spanish city where kids are failing almost eveything else in droves is obscene. Kids could get the same Spanish lessons off YouTube for free.
Dutch May 02, 2013 at 10:55 AM
Just because parents speak spanish doesnt mean that their american born children can speak and write spanish fluently. And furthermore a foreign language is a Regents requirement for graduation.
Patrick D. May 04, 2013 at 04:49 AM
You could take teachers from the best schools from all over the world and put them in that district. It takes more then just teachers. It takes support and discipline at home. Drive in the area of the high school at dismissal time and tell me that its the teachers fault. As far as the Spanish curriculum comments, foreign language is a graduation requirement. Kudos to those teachers for such success. English is one of the hardest languages to master and again, interacting with kids in Peekskill...they'd be better off speaking spanish then the non stop slang and jibberish they speak.

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