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Schools take steps to cut costs

"Any position that becomes vacant, we're critically reviewing to see if it needs to be filled. Also, we do have a current budget freeze, and what that means is before we buy anything we evaluate it and see [if] we really need it," said Kelsey.

The school district also has a budget advisory committee with meetings that are open to the public. Those meetings will start in January.

"I think the important thing is that we certainly understand that we are in a financial crisis, but our Board of Education will work very hard at looking at our programs to make sure we have minimal impact on our students," said Kelsey.

Like Schalmont, Niskayuna Central School District is also using an energy savings program and implementing a hiring freeze (unless the position is critical). They are also following a recycling program to reduce costs and bring in revenue.

"Right now there are things we're trying to do now that aren't cutting programs and impacting the kids," said Baughman.

According to Baughman, some small changes the district has made that result in substantial savings include keeping the heat for all buildings in the district at 67 degrees during the week and 50 degrees on weekends and holidays.

"We're also doing a mandatory 'turn off lights' as soon as you're out of a room," said Baughman. "We're also making sure that all computers and electronic devices are off, especially on weekends and holidays."

They have also suspended all conferences for teachers for the time being, unless they were previously approved.

"Effective immediately, each administrator/supervisor will scrutinize every 2008-09 budget code within responsibility and target a budget reduction wherever possible. Only expenditures absolutely essential for continuation of current programs should be retained," said Baughman in a written statement.

In Mohonasen Central School District, officials have an energy savings program in place and have reduced field trips, eyed more efficient transportation routes, and haven't rehired positions that have become vacant, unless they were critical.

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