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Watkins will move to single start time

    WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen Central School District will implement single busing in the mornings and afternoons and start all three schools at the same time, as of the 2012-13 school year.
    The decisions came from discussion about closing the middle school over the next two and a half years at the Tuesday, Jan. 17, school board meeting. Superintendent Tom Phillips said given preliminary budget numbers, the Watkins district is facing a $1.6 million gap so the school needs to start single busing next year to save money.
    Currently, the elementary grade levels start at 8:45 a.m., while the middle and high schools start between 7:25 and 7:30 a.m., so two rounds of buses are needed. The district will start all three schools at the same time next school year allowing for single busing. Phillips said he will discuss it more with the building principals about when the common start and finish times will be. Board member Gloria Brubaker said if the school day ends too late, students will have to excused due to sports. The final decision on this will be made by March 1.
    The board also decided not to move next year’s fifth graders into the middle school. Phillips said the current fourth graders will remain in the 12th Street elementary school when becoming fifth graders next year. He explained this will prevent those same students from coming back to the main campus when the middle school is ultimately closed.
    Gayle Sedlack, business manager, provided preliminary budget information to board members as the district begins the 2012-13 budget process. Gov. Andrew Cuomo released proposed 2012-13 state aid figures on Tuesday. She said that preliminary figures indicate a $1.6 million gap for the school. Sedlack added that under the state’s eight step formula, Watkins can only raise the tax levy by 2.62 percent.
    In other business:
    • Colin Pritchard was appointed as the seventh/eighth grade girls basketball coach and Dale Irwin as the modified wrestling coach.
    The next regular school board meeting is Monday, Feb. 6. It is expected to start at 6:30 p.m., following an executive session.




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