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RCS pool will remain open

Strong community turnout for special school board meeting

The Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk Central School District's aquatics center will remain open in the 2011-12 school year, following a decision by the Board of Education this evening to strike its closure from a list of budget reductions.

The decision was made during a well-attended special meeting of the school board convened to discuss budget reductions proposed by Superintendent Daniel Teplesky. Among those $1.1 million worth of cuts was the removal of more than 10 teaching positions. The board also instructed the superintendent to look into ways to save a few of those jobs so foreign language studies can continue to be offered starting at seventh grade instead of being pushed back a year.

While there were many topics under consideration, the aquatics center was clearly on the mind of many attendees. The district had proposed last week to shutter the facility for a savings of $77,000.

That cost is eclipsed by the value of the facility, said school board member Sarah Hafensteiner.

We don't live in the middle of a city where we have easy access to a lot of facilities and advantages, she said. "This is the only facility that's here for everybody."

Several of her colleagues echoed those thoughts. Many of the perhaps 200 people who filled the RCS High School auditorium cheered, hooted and hollered whenever the topic of keeping the pool open was raised.

Keeping the pool open will mean an increase in the probable tax levy, to about a 3.8 percent hike. The district's state aid was cut by $900,000 in the proposed state budget. It now appears some of that money will be put back in by legislators. Details will emerge in the coming days and could affect the tax levy.

Teplesky said the district could well have made the tax levy flat if school aid weren't cut this year.

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