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SCOTIA: Board looks at busing

As budget talks continue for Scotia-Glenville Central School District, issues such as transportation and elementary initiatives are emerging as top priorities. Superintendent Susan Swartz is asking the board to form the budget around the question, What do we want for our children?

Swartz's answers to that question are outlined as a curriculum she calls rigorous and relevant instruction; student knowledge that they can use; and development of skills and abilities.

Part of the budget proposal that exemplifies this is providing art education for kindergarten students. Expanding art into this grade level will increase opportunities and creative skills, and will come at an estimated cost of $19,735.

"Giving our kindergarteners an opportunity to use creativity through art will benefit these children in various areas of their development," said Swartz.

Voters will be facing a bus proposition that would allow the district to purchase three additional buses. Transportation Director David Van Schaick has also requested the board consider adding staff to his department, particularly for the two hours in the morning when he is solely responsible for transportation. Van Shaick starts his day at 5 a.m. in order to maintain an acceptable quality of service.

"I have no choice but to put in 12 hours a day just to keep up with our current demands," said Van Shaick.

Board members responded to Van Shaick, saying they need additional time and information before being able to approve funds for any additional staffing.

"I would feel more comfortable moving ahead if I had cost benefit numbers," said board member Joe Crisafulli.

Crisafulli said before supporting a proposal to add staff or purchase an additional bus, he needs more information.

Other preliminary budget items include two computer lab teaching assistants to be shared among the four elementary schools with an increase over the level of service offered over this year. The estimated cost is just under $30,000. A part-time physical education teacher and a part-time speech therapist will also be considered.

The board is considering the creation of a primary skills program, or PSP, which will allow the district to serve second graders with special needs. The instruc-tional program will require a full-time special education teacher, teaching assistant, part-time speech therapist and social work services, all totaling $140,645.

The board continue to fine-tune the budget before the vote on May 15.

The budget as currently drafted is $13.3 million, which would bring a 3.18 percent tax increase.""

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