Riverhead School District announces plan for more layoffs

The move is an effort to close a $20 million deficit due to losing both state and federal funding that the district received during the pandemic.

Caroline Flynn

Mar 20, 2024, 9:32 AM

Updated 31 days ago

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The Riverhead School District continues to make changes to its 2024-2025 school year budget as it struggles with a $20 million deficit and pandemic aid comes to an end.
Parents shared their frustrations about staff and program cuts at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.
"Why does it sound like the district is living paycheck to paycheck to paycheck? " one parent asked the board during public comment. "Why are you spending all your money up front and not planning later?”
The district explained during the four-hour meeting that it is looking to reassign those affected to different open positions so they can maintain their benefits. Parents questioned why just one administrative position is on the chopping block.
"You're cutting teaching assistants for kindergartners, kids who've never been in a school setting before. The cuts should come from the top. The cuts should come from the top. You shouldn't be cutting for the most vulnerable students," voiced one parent.
Marianne Cartisano, the assistant superintendent for business said, "That would've destroyed your district, and in my opinion, it would've taken a decade to recover."
Parents were unhappy though that changes would come to the dual language program. Instead of it being available at multiple schools, it will be held at just one. And while students can apply, a lottery will decide who gets in.
One parent questioned, "So, there was a commitment asked of us parents, seven years of this program. So where is the commitment to the parents and the children most importantly?
While another parent added at the meeting, "This dual language program my kindergartner is in is by far the best thing the Riverhead School District has given to any of my children."
The district said this is its plan for the budget now as it waits for the state budget to be finalized. Adjustments could be made once that is done and the district knows what aid it'll be receiving.


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