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Eastchester Board Restores Modified Sports Budget

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – A crowd of about 100 people got what most of them came for Tuesday night when the Eastchester Board of Education agreed to reinstate modified sports for seventh and eighth-graders into the 2012-2013 budget proposal.

The decision came after Superintendent Marilyn C. Terranova announced there is a non-instructional staff member planning to retire at the end of the year and that she did not plan to fill the position for the 2012-2013 school year. While she did not disclose what the position is, Terranova did say that the savings would be about $110,000. The modified sports program needs $97,000 to function.

After a lengthy discussion, and with a strong show of support from program backers, the board unanimously agreed to fund the program for next year, but to hold the open position in abeyance as Terranova requested so it may be filled in the future.

The decision was greeted with applause from the crowd and a group of young athletes walked to the microphone to say a simple "thank you" to the board.

Board member Vito Catania wanted to go a step further, urging the board to eliminate the position being held open and dedicate the funding permanently to the sports program. Terranova countered, saying, "I will not be recommending that to the board," adding that it is the first priority to ensure the quality of the academic program.

Terranova said, while nothing is guaranteed from year to year, especially with the state's new tax levy cap that is scheduled to remain in place for at least five years, it is possible that other moves made this year could relieve some budget stress in the future and that could bode well for the sports program that has been under the gun in recent years.

Earlier in the meeting, Terranova announced that because of an additional $250,000 coming to Eastchester from the state, coupled with other savings in the current year, sections were being restored to several elementary grades to reduce class sizes to 25 or less. Also, extra-curricular clubs slated for cuts were restored with some restructuring and ice hockey boosters have agreed to do some fundraising to help keep that program on track.

The district will ask Eastchester voters to approve the budget, which comes in at a 1.98 percent increase over the current year – and under the tax cap – on May 15.

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