Plan to close Saugerties primary school met strong opposition – Daily Freeman


SAUGERTIES, NY – A proposal to close one of the district’s four elementary schools met strong opposition from residents during a school board meeting Tuesday at the gymnasium and cafeteria of Grant D. Morse which brought together more than 120 people.

Administrators discussed the prospect as a cost saving measure, but some speakers said they were upset as they said the same group of officials a year ago had promised no school closures. while promoting a $ 22 million bond proposal. This capital project received the approval of 849-260 voters in December.

“While there is no formal proposal presented yet, it is evident that there is a commitment from at least a majority of the board to close a school and a commitment from the top management to implement the pre-determined program of the board, ”said resident Michael Belarosa.

“All of us here tonight are looking at the board of directors and the superintendent to look… through the window and to stand up for our children and say, ‘no elementary school will close under our watch’,” he said. he declares. “I can promise you that this is something that we can all come together and be by your side, and if that means running for the board, we will do it to support you, not to replace you.”

District officials propose to develop a three-building elementary school system under three options with the goal of closing planned budget increases of $ 1.6 million in 2022-2023; $ 3.2 million in 2023-24; and $ 5.1 million in 2024-25.

As part of a plan to have three buildings maintain the K-6 configuration, officials report that there would be a savings of $ 2.07 million; using one building for Grades 4 to 6 and two buildings for Kindergarten to Grade 3 would save $ 2.57 million; and using each building for the central consolidation of Kindergarten to Grade 2, Grades 3-4, and Grades 5-6 would save $ 3.06 million.

Officials were keen to say that no decision had been made on the school to close and specifically said that rumors that it was Morse School were not part of the discussions at district meetings. . Morse is the furthest away of the four campuses in the district and does not have a densely populated area near where it relies.

Resident Alicia Gambino said assurances that there would be no school closures were made as recently as the period leading up to the 2021-22 budget vote.

“The district received a huge confidence endorsement from the community who overwhelmingly approved their budget proposal,” she said. “Now, a few months later, that confidence is now in question. … You work for us and you will be held responsible. When your respective conditions arise, we as stakeholders have a responsibility to protect the best interests of our families and neighbors and we will be forced to reject you. “

Officials said they expected to have additional meetings with stakeholder groups before developing a final proposal to be submitted to the board within three months.

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