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Despite Petition, Chappaqua Loses Psychologist

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – A petition urging the Chappaqua Central School District not to reduce its psychologists for elementary school children fell short on Tuesday when the Board of Education adopted the budget for the 2012-13 school year.

The petition was created by parent Dawn Greenberg after the district announced a reduction of full-time psychologists from three to 2.4. The 0.4, part-time position will be used for a central psychologist evaluator to conduct evaluations for all three elementary schools.

"A concern of a lot of parents I talked to is, once it’s done, it’s done," Greenberg said in a final plea to the board. "We’re never going to have a third psychologist back in the district."

The reduction comes from a psychologist who is retiring at Westorchard Elementary School. The two remaining psychologists from Roaring Brook and Douglas G. Grafflin will balance their time among the three schools.

Parent Karen Bazik was concerned that the psychologists will not have enough time to become familiar with all the students. Superintendent Lyn McKay, however, said the two psychologists have already begun reaching out to parents and students at Westorchard.

"They spoke with us today, and they have written in their report to us that they’ve already begun to talk about the specific students," McKay said. "They want to ensure that they meet with the students and the parents. They’re beginning this work now.”

Greenberg expressed her disappointment with the board's decision to adopt the budget and keep the proposed reduction of psychologists, but said she is confident that McKay and Assistant Superintendent Eric Byrne will honor their word and continue to monitor the new arrangement.

"I am urging parents who signed the petition to be watchful and vocal this fall as events unfold," Greenberg said. "For now, we have to put our confidence in Lyn, Eric and (Director of Special Education Heidi McCarthy) and the two existing psychologists."

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