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Watkins considers closing middle school

WATKINS GLEN—Superintendent Tom Phillips told the Watkins school board that no decision has been made yet about closing the middle school campus and consolidating, during the Monday, Feb. 7, meeting.
“No, we are not closing the middle school,” he said. However, the district is looking at that as a possible way to save money.
Phillips explained the district is still in the middle of figuring out if closing the middle school would save money. He said that the community input committee will present its findings to the facilities committee during the Monday, March 21, workshop meeting. Phillips said that committee then accepts, rejects, or modifies the proposal. The school board itself would make a decision sometime after that.
Phillips also talked about the 2011-12 budget and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest state numbers. He reiterated that New York can’t reduce aid, keep unfunded mandates, and expect schools to operate efficiently. Phillips added he would like to see either mandate relief or an increase in state aid.
He said the Regents is considering making cuts to special education, middle school technology programs and library media services. However, Phillips asked what the school districts are supposed to do when students only have core classes without other programs.
In other business:
Phillips, school board President Brian O’Donnell, and a teacher association member will be attending a conference on Labor Management Collaboration in Denver, Colo., Feb. 15 and 16. O’Donnell said all costs have been underwritten by the Ford Foundation. Watkins Glen is one of 150 districts from across the U.S. that will be in attendance. Phillips said those in attendance will discuss how to improve student achievement.
The board accepted $2,500 from Corning Inc. so the district can hold a science fair for grades kindergarten to eighth.
The next regular school board meeting is Monday, March 7. It is anticipated to begin at 6:30 p.m., following an executive session.




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