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Niskayuna school closure last resort

Majority of board pushes shuttering Van Antwerp to bottom of possible reductions

Niskayuna Board of Education member Robert Winchester, left, says the district didn’t properly listen to concerns from community members on proposing to close Van Antwerp Middle School. The majority of board members on Tuesday, Dec. 18, supported moving any school closure as a last resort to achieve savings.

Niskayuna Board of Education member Robert Winchester, left, says the district didn’t properly listen to concerns from community members on proposing to close Van Antwerp Middle School. The majority of board members on Tuesday, Dec. 18, supported moving any school closure as a last resort to achieve savings. Photo by John Purcell.

— A majority of the board favored leaving the closing Van Antwerp as a possibility, but at the bottom of proposed reductions to close the budget gap.

Two Van Antwerp students shared their thoughts on the closure with the board after its discussions.

Esabelle Gervasio, an eighth-grade student, said the district closed the school previously only to reopen it years later. She said closing the school would be more costly because several students couldn’t walk to school anymore, increasing transportation expenses.

Angeeras Ramanath, also an eighth grader, said combining schools would increase bullying, among other issues.

“There would be lots of flaws in the plan that you have right now,” Ramanath said.

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