Briarcliff Manor Students, Parents Fight Schedule Changes

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A longer school day, fewer elective courses, and teacher layoffs are among proposed changes that have the town of Briarcliff Manor up in arms Thursday.

Parents and students are vowing to fight after being stirred up by a rousing school board meeting last week, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.

“I would have to sacrifice my elective to be able to keep a free period,” one student said.

“Please help me understand how the students are going to sing and play music while they are having lunch,” said a parent.

School officials are considering changing the high school’s class schedule in Briarcliff Manor – adding to the school day and trimming lunch, some free periods, art, music and language electives.

Officials have touted several advantages to the plan.

“That amounts to, I think, 100 extra hours of instructional time in core courses,” Board of Education member Guy Rotondo said.

“I think this schedule change is the right thing to do,” Principal James Kaishian said.

School activist Mike Valenti, however, highlighted the drawbacks and is organizing parents and students against the plan.

“The last time that we changed our high school schedule, we took several years,” Valenti said. “Here, we haven’t even taken several weeks.”

A Facebook campaign is calling for a peaceful demonstration on Monday, where students will “get off the bus, sit on the sidewalk, be silent and wear black.”

“Today we see one of the rare instances where the student body comes together and unites to fight for a cause we believe in,” one student said.

Briarcliff Manor schools were on break this week, but the few parents who showed up Thursday said the changes will not only limit classes, but will also eliminate teachers.

“Well, if you eliminate certain courses, certain programs, then you can let those teachers go,” former school board member Susan Bodansky said.

Bodansky said she doesn’t but the district’s claim that the changes aren’t about money.

“It’s always a cost issue,” she said.

Parents and students say they’ll fight at every board meeting, hoping to defeat a vote and save student electives.

The district’s interim superintendent and the high school are entrusted with making the final decision on the proposed changes. They plan to notify the community by the next board meeting, scheduled for March 7.


    I am concerned that we are losing sight of what’s really important and would like to once again communicate to all that this is more about respect, transparency and stakeholder voice. What Guy Rotundo, Eric Bashford and Rosella Ranno did to our kids is unforgivable. They (including Janet Marinacchio) have disrespected the adults for so long but to bring kids out on a cold school night knowing that you had already made up your mind is unforgivable.

  • LetsDigDeeper

    While it is certainly advisable to watch Jim Kaishan’s 2/26 Board of Education presentation on the District website, It is also advisable to watch the 3+ hours that follow. In this segment, parents, students and faculty all unanimously rejected this schedule change as not lining up with the values of Briarcliff and our commitment to academic excellence. Mr. Kaishan did his best to “sell” this change as he was ordered to do by INTERIM Superintendent Cicchelli (who takes his orders from Guy Rotundo, Eric Bashford and Janet Marinacchio). However, her in America, where our cornerstone value is democracy, we expect our elected officials to treat the citizenry with respect and to represent their views and agenda – not the agenda of a select few who made sure they got elected. Guy Rotundo’s introduction of a resolution, and Eric Bashford and Rosella Ranno’s immediate support (and Janet Marinaccio’s phony abstention) were deeply disrespectful to this community and our children.

  • getting out of NY

    Get used to it…America is not about education, its about gettin me mine…..Andy Cuomo doesnt give a damn about the kids or your protest. It all comes down to the dollar and teachers and kids take the fall even though nobody in governement needs to make sacrifices. I believe we must all work to gether to solve the financial issues, but I mean Together, not just blaming education. If we werent the give away state, we would save a lot of money

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