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Schalmont schools start roundtable discussions

Declining enrollment could lead to closing schools

School officials are listening to community members as they develop a plan for the future of the school, while keeping costs under control.

Residents of Schalmont Central School District were provided with a formal presentation on the efficiency study completed in September by Advisory Solutions, a consultant group created by the New York State School Boards Association, which looks at options for the district spanning five years. The first two roundtable discussions were held on Wednesday, Oct. 13, and Thursday, Oct. 14. Before each discussion there was an hour-long presentation given to explain the study.

There are six scenarios (A to "F") in the study, which range from continuing what the district is currently doing to closing schools and combining attendance zones. Each option has the advantages and challenges associated with them listed in the report. There is also another scenario provided to allow the community and school officials to come up with there own scenario.

"What happens next door or what happens around the state is not relevant to us right now," said Schalmont Superintendent Valerie Kelsey during the Oct. 14 presentation. "What is relevant to us right now is the children of Schalmont and how we as the parents, the guardians and the citizens, how we want to deal with this crisis. How are we are going to make choices that provide for all children how are we going to find equity to educate all of them in a way that we can all come together with consensus and support."

Kelsey said the district would be faced with a $1.7 million increase in the upcoming budget if they decided to keep the current programs. Kelsey said in the district, 28 percent comes from state and federal and 71 percent is paid by taxpayers, with only 1 percent coming out of the district's fund balance.

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