Cuts approved in Valley Stream high schools

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The rifle team, which has won seven consecutive state championships — its most recent coming earlier this month — garnered the most support from students, parents and residents.

Danielle Cuomo, a senior at Central and captain of the team, spoke on behalf of her younger teammates. “I’m here to fight for their future and for their dreams,” she said, “because they should have the same opportunity as I had.” Residents cited the number of college scholarships that rifle team members have garnered over the years as a reason to keep the team — including Cuomo, who will attend West Point in the fall as a cadet and a rifle competitor.

Former board member Ian Wraith, whose son Sean is a member of the team, compared cutting the team with the board’s decision to close the auto repair shop in 2011. “If the auto shop was operating at the level of the rifle team,” Wraith said, “they’d be fixing NASCARs right now.”

When the cuts in athletics were proposed in February, Heidenreich said that the reason he chose the sports he did was because their per-athlete costs were among the highest in the district.

Voters’ turn to decide

Virginia Clavin-Higgins, a village trustee and a private-school parent, asked the board to table its decision on adopting the budget until next month in order to allow more time for safety concerns to be addressed. Following public comment, Iadevaio made a motion to table the decision until April, but it was voted down, 7-2.

Board Trustee Jeanne Greco Jacobs said that while she respects residents’ concerns about transportation and athletics, her goal is to ensure educational opportunities for students. “The majority of our cuts are coming from our core program,” she said. “We’re letting teachers go. It’s going to affect children and the educational opportunities they will see going forward.” Jacobs added that the education cuts were the most upsetting to her.

Residents will vote on the spending plan, which requires a simple majority to pass, on May 21. If it fails, the board can put it up for a vote again. If it fails a second time, another estimated $3 million in mandatory cuts would automatically take effect, Heidenreich said.

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