When school officials from the Saugerties Central School District (SCSD) discussed the closure of Mt. Marion Elementary School after the 2021-22 school year, they talked about giving families time to learn about the new elementary traffic areas. The district delivered on that promise last week by posting the boundaries of each of its three remaining elementary schools.
• The Lawrence M. Cahill Elementary Attendance Area will cover Northeast Route 9W to the end of the school district, including all roads leading to the Hudson River; northeast of Highway 32 to the junction of High Falls Road and old Highway 32; Old Kings Highway to the end of the school district, including all roads east and west; southwest Kings Highway to end of school district; Mont Marion Park; southeast to the junction of 9W Road and Spaulding Lane, including roads on the east side of 9W; and the Windemere development at the junction of Simmons and Appletree drives on the west side of 9W.
• The attendance area for Grant D. Morse Elementary School will include Highway 32 northeast from its junction with High Falls Road, including High Falls Road and Nelson Hoff Road; south to Glasco Turnpike and including; west to Lewis Hollow Road; east to Mount Marion Park; all roads from there south to the end of the school district; and Route 212 from Churchland Lane west to the end of the school district.
• The Charles M. Riccardi Elementary attendance area will cover Route 9W north to the junction of Spaulding Lane and Route 9W; Barclay Heights developments along the west side of 9W, as well as all roads to the east; southwest 9W to end of quarter; and Old Stage Road to the end of the neighborhood.
This week, Superintendent Kirk Reinhardt identified the various factors that contributed to the creation of attendance limits, including bus routes and schedules, geography, bus company contracts, class size equity , classroom capacities, capacity building, needs of students with disabilities and potential areas. future growth of the student population.
Reinhardt said, “The scarcity and shortage of bus drivers” were the most difficult obstacles to overcome.
The new ridership areas were created in conjunction with various transportation consultants and contractors, in addition to the District Transportation Department.
In January, the SCSD School Board voted 8 to 1 to close Mt. Marion Elementary School at the end of the 2021-22 school year and absorb its students into the district’s three remaining elementary schools. The Mt. Marion building will be transformed into a universal pre-K center and district offices.
In 2021, school officials said the closure of an elementary school was inevitable, in part because of finances. An October 2021 report from the District Governance Committee shows a projected budget shortfall of $1 million for the SCSD in 2022-23, a gap of $1.7 million for 2023-24, a gap of 3.7 million for 2024-25 and a deficit of $6.1 million for 2025-26.
The governance study also mapped a district-wide student population that peaked at around 3,500 in 2005-2006 and has been declining ever since. The current student population is approximately 2,400, and while there are many residential projects approved or under consideration by the planning board, the district still expects a modest annual decrease over the next decade. likely falling to around 2,100 by 2029-30 school year.
This report also indicates that the district has an opportunity to become more efficient while increasing programming, aligning programs, and improving education for all of its students. To achieve this, they proposed three different models for a three-elementary future, choosing one option that will maintain the current K-6 configuration for the remaining three elementary schools. The advantages of this model over the other two under consideration were listed as maintaining neighborhood schools, involving fewer transitions, and simplified transportation. Disadvantages were noted as less equity in class size, ESSA funding, curriculum consistency and scheduling; the possibility of future redistricting; and less savings.
The new elementary model could potentially save the district about $1.8 million per year. These savings will be achieved in part through a reduction in staff, including 13.2 teachers, 8.5 teaching assistants, 2.5 monitors, two maintenance workers, a janitor, a director, a secretary and a food services.
For more information on elementary attendance limits, including detailed maps, visit the official SCSD website at: https://www.saugerties.k12.ny.us/Page/1.