Updated 02/08/2013 07:19 AM
Marlboro school district closes two schools
Two Marlboro elementary schools will shut their doors for good this June. Our Christian Farrell has more on the controversial decision reached Thursday evening.
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MARLBORO, N.Y. - The Marlboro School Board takes drastic action. Board members unanimously vote to close two of the districts three elementary schools at the end of the school year.
"We have the phase one plan along with the schools represent a little more than 5 million dollars in cuts. The whole Dynegy bankruptcy issue is what is really driving this," said Marlboro School Board President Stephen Jennison.
The bankrupt utility company had provided 40 percent of the district's property tax revenue.
Without it the district estimates it has a whopping $17 million budget gap to fill. The controversial decision to merge three schools into one isn't a popular idea for some parents.
"I don't think they've thoroughly thought long term plans. I think everything is very short term," said Russell Conley, the parent of a kindergarten student.
Under this "phase one" cost savings plan 31 jobs will be cut. Thirteen of those being teachers swelling class sizes to as many as 30 students per class, raising the question of some why more school administrators aren't part of the downsizing.
"I just think they're not looking hard enough. I think they're protecting themselves. It's about the children. It's not about your wallet," said Conley.
School officials say they should know in April whether a second phase of district budgets cuts becomes necessary. In the meantime - June 30th will be the day both Middle Hope and Milton Elementary Schools close their doors for good.
"It's very difficult. My father, in 1936, in Milton Elementary School was the first student there. My brothers and I, we grew up here. Just like any members of the community, it's very difficult - but necessary at this time," said Jennison.