Yonkers residents voice concern over school district cuts

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YONKERS -

Residents voiced their concerns at a public hearing Monday night about the Yonkers school district's proposal to lay off 251 teachers and staff members.

"I feel it is important to be here so they can hear my voice and hear from our union, which is fighting for us to not lose our jobs," says teacher’s aide Katherine Benvenuto.

Unlike the rest of Westchester, Yonkers city and school district budgets are combined and must be adopted by June 1.

Last week, the Board of Education voted to cut 251 jobs to close a $45.3 million budget gap. Those jobs include 54 teaching assistants, 50 school aides and 35 teachers.

District employees are not only worried about their jobs, but the quality of education students will receive.

"For the past two decades we have endured cut, after cut, after cut and yet we have risen to the challenge," says music director of PEARLS Hawthorne School Marc Pekowksy. "Now after all this accomplishment and in the face of so much, they are looking to cut us again."

If the school layoffs are part of the final budget, they will take effect at the end of next month.

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