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Briarcliff Parents Surprised by Elimination of School Aides

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff Manor parents say they were surprised to learn this week that 27 of 30 Briarcliff School District teacher’s aides were notified they would not have jobs at the end of the school year.

Briarcliff Superintendent of Schools Neal Miller confirmed Tuesday that all but three of the 30 Briarcliff schools teacher’s aides were given notice last week that they would not have jobs in the 2012-13 school year. He also announced intentions to replace the aides with teacher’s assistants next year. Local parents said they heard nothing from the district of these plans prior to the decision, rather, they heard the news from talking to teachers and students this week. 

“I just found out this morning that their positions were being eliminated,” said Padma Sridhar, who has a son in third-grade at Todd Elementary School. “I was really sorry to hear that because I think they’re wonderful aides and they’ve done a lot for us. I’m sure the school has a plan but we haven’t heard anything yet.”

Debbie Silberman, who has kids at Briarcliff Middle School and Briarcliff High School, said she found out after her children came home from school this week and said their teachers were wearing ribbons in support of the teacher’s aides. 

“It’s just very shocking because we’ve had budget cuts already and there are fewer aides now than there was to begin with,” Silberman said Wednesday. “I haven’t heard anything at all from the school. It’s kind of sad.”

Miller wrote in an e-mailed statement Wednesday that the decision was not easy.

“Change is difficult, but often worth the effort when the benefits of the change are great,” Miller wrote. “When I met with community members at our Budget Open House earlier this school year, parents expressed to me that they would like me to create something bold and ground-breaking with our instructional program. This idea fit perfectly with my vision to make our instructional program the strongest it could be, looking for continuous improvement through innovative programs. Inherent in this vision is change.”

Miller also said in the e-mail that he and Deb Serio-Vaughan would present more information on the instructional model at the board of education’s next meeting at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 and that the presentation would be posted on the school district’s website on Feb. 14.

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