Proposed $6M Budget Cuts At Hudson Valley School District Spark Outrage

A Hudson Valley school district has sparked outrage among residents by proposing a budget for the next year that contains at least $6 million in cuts, which could affect many student programs and teaching jobs. 

Carmel High School.

Carmel High School.

Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

At a Board of Education meeting in Putnam County held on Tuesday night, March 12 at Carmel High School, countless community members spoke out about the budget, proposed by the Carmel Central School District for the 2023-2024 school year. 

According to district documents, the budget could include at least $6 million in cuts to teaching jobs, after-school programs, field trips, and more, which would affect all of the district's schools. 

This includes cuts to teachers from Carmel High School's business, science, world language, art, math, social studies, and English departments. 

The district is also considering changing the kindergarten to a "Princeton Model" that would redistribute children between Kent Primary School and Kent Elementary School, which would save $880,000. Another consideration is cutting kindergarten completely, which would mean letting go of 10 teachers and 1.5 special education teachers, and would save over $1.6 million.

Even more cuts are being considered to prevent the district from needing to raise taxes by 3.52 percent. 

According to the district, reasons for the extreme financial situation include the expiration of COVID-19 relief grant funding, increased insurance and other operational costs, and not raising taxes enough. 

The proposed cuts garnered aggressive comments from district parents on Tuesday, including Nick Magliano.

"You guys should all be embarrassed…everybody’s been here for how long, now all of a sudden, nobody’s seen any of this and it’s a shock…nobody saw this coming?” Magliano said to the school board. 

Former school board member Tara DeTurris also spoke at the meeting, saying the board has "been reckless in their decision to not hold the tax levy putting our district into this upcoming deficit and funding because they did not heed the advice of the auditors." 

"Your responsibility as a board member is to pay out our teachers' contracts, our staff contracts, our bus drivers, our office workers, and many of our teachers are all members of this community who will be severely impacted by what you’re about to do," DeTurris added. 

Several students even spoke during the meeting, including Carmel High School student Jake Radovich, who urged officials not to make cuts from the school's business department. 

"When you cut the business department and cut off the educators of the department, you aren’t just taking away someone’s job; you’re taking away these educators' careers," Radovich said, adding that the department has changed his life dramatically. 

A special Carmel Board of Education meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m. at Carmel High School. Those who wish to speak during the public comment part of the meeting can sign up by clicking here. 

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