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Frame: It’s not worth closing B.C. Cate

ODESSA—Odessa-Montour Superintendent Jim Frame presented the school board with the potential impacts and benefits of closing the B.C. Cate school and moving to a single Odessa campus at the Thursday, March 14, board meeting.
Overall, Frame said closing the B.C. Cate elementary school would have “minimal savings,” of less than $50,000. He explained this was a preliminary look at ways for the district to cut costs. Frame added the $50,000 does not even factor in the impact to state aid. The board asked Frame to calculate a more precise savings to the district if all students were housed in one building.
“It’s not worth it to me,” said board member Chris Scata, if it only saved the district that much money. He added maintaining the atmosphere of B.C. Cate is worth it. Overall the board agreed.
“If you’re asking my opinion, I’d say no,” said Frame about closing B.C. Cate.
In his facilities report, Frame said the district would see little savings in personnel from consolidation. He added rooms would need to be rearranged and converted to make space for B.C. Cate students at the main campus. Frame said the fitness room, adjacent to the elementary cafeteria, would have to be converted to extra cafeteria space. He added the physical education schedule would need a “complete reworking” to accommodate the younger students and the older students using the same gym space.
When asked why Watkins Glen saw significant savings in closing their middle school building, Frame said “it’s a very different situation. I can’t speak to what’s going on in Watkins Glen.” He said the B.C. Cate building is “fully employed.”
Frame also spoke about the future of the education forums held in conjunction with Watkins Glen. He said he and Watkins Superintendent Tom Phillips are working on the information requested at the first forum. He added no date for the next public forum has been set yet.
In other business:
• The board approved two propositions to appear on the May school ballot. The first is that the Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library tax levy (currently at $32,299) be increased by $650 and the Montour Falls Memorial Library tax levy (currently at $33,665) be increased by $670. The second proposition will allow the district to spend no more than $237,000 to purchase two buses.
• The mileage reimbursement rate was approved at 56.5 cents per mile, as recognized by the Internal Revenue Service.
The Odessa-Montour school board will hold a workshop session, Thursday, March 28, at 6 p.m.