3/01/2010Posted by MJ
Buffalo News reported that the Lockport School District is considering removing dedicated librarians as part of their budget balancing maneuvers.
The effect of a $7.9 million deficit is rippling throughout the Lockport School District, with libraries as a possibility for the next hit.
Administrators e-mailed the district’s certified library media specialists last month, warning that their positions may be eliminated for the next school year.
The five positions are shared by the district’s seven elementary schools to teach computer classes and staff library periods.
If cut, teachers would absorb some librarian duties, while other programming, such as dedicated library periods, could be eliminated. It was not immediately clear whether librarian’s assistants would also be affected...And still no final decision on which school(s) to close but three are nominated:
...Schrader and Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone have told The Buffalo News that closing candidates include DeWitt Clinton, John E. Pound and Washington Hunt elementary schools. The three are the district’s oldest and most technologically outdated, and they cost the most to maintain....A typical "good" class size is around 18 students. Districts such as Niagara Falls have 28 students set as the maximum in their union contracts and classes often reach that ceiling. Lockport is right in the average range.
...In Lockport, closing a school has been a discussion for at least a decade, Carbone said. The district’s incoming kindergarten class this year was about 30 students below previous years, the superintendent said. Still, the district had always been able to afford keeping all of its seven elementary schools open and offer lower class sizes. A $7.9 million deficit changes that...As thought, selling a school building would be tough. They are offering up district warehouses as the reuse. Very imaginative though I guess it keeps the structures maintained.
...Most elementary schools throughout Niagara County have about 20 students in an average class. For the 2008-09 school year, according to state records, DeWitt Clinton had 18, while John E. Pound and Washington Hunt had 19 each. The schools that stay open could be affected, too. Roy Kelley Elementary, for instance, has an average class size of 17, which could go up if it absorbs students from a closed school...
...Although selling the closed school building would be ideal, it’s unlikely the district will find a buyer anytime soon, Carbone said. Instead, the buildings can be repurposed and create space for other district services, such as records management and technology storage. District officials are reviewing budget scenarios and data to make a final determination. The future should look clearer by the board’s next meetings, Wednesday and March 10. A final budget, along with a closure plan, must be approved by April...I wonder again where the public can easily access the school budget and its cost breakdown. Lack of information makes educated discussion hard to accomplish.