Parents plea for programs

S-G BOE restores summer school, but leaves OPAL on the chopping block

Unless more state funding trickles into the Scotia-Glenville Central School District, the proposed budget of about $47 million with a tax increase barely over 2 percent will be presented to district voters in May.

The Scotia-Glenville Board of Education held a public forum on Monday, March 28, before its normal meeting to allow the public to address concerns with proposed budget cuts and express any ideas for alternatives to possibly pursue. Proposed cuts that were restored included the foreign language sixth-grade exploratory program, summer school for grades 6 to 12 (previously only seniors would have been served), and the 1-2-3 Success program serving around 50 students with support services. If more state funding became available, which Superintendent Susan Swartz said could total around $250,000, the board agreed to restore one of the OPAL positions, which provide additional programming for advanced elementary students.

I have always said to my board that we are not going to budget money that doesn't really exist, and I continue to maintain that stance tonight, said Swartz. "As much as I would like more state aid, I am very cautious with the position that the state is in of what we can really expect."

The board decided it would wait until the next meeting on Monday, April 4, before deciding on the final budget to allow for the possibility of more state aid to come through.

Despite community members pleading for OPAL to be completely restored, the BOE stuck to the decision that it would happen only if more state aid is attained. Board member Benjamin Conlon had proposed the idea of keeping one OPAL teacher, which would raise the tax increase to 2.33 percent without additional aid.

Jennifer D'Arcy said she has a son in first grade that looks forward to OPAL, and the advanced learning helps satisfy his educational appetite since he can get bored with normal class work. Before OPAL, he was starting to develop behavioral problems, she said, but the program stopped those issues. It was also one of the reasons her family decided to move to the district.

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