Lowdown on North Rockland School Board Meeting 3/21

BY MICHAEL CAHILL

Budget Talks, and officially closing three schools


The North Rockland Central School met for a Committee of the Whole
Board Workshop Session of the Board of Education Tuesday night in the
North Rockland Administration Building to discuss next year’s budget
and vote to officially close several schools.

This week’s meeting opened with comments from public. Attendees
expressed their concerns about next years budget and possible cuts to
school programs. The highlight was an impassioned plea from North
Rockland High School’s president of the Drama Society who pleaded with
the board to think of the students and not just the money when making
cuts this year.

To this board member Eilliot Gilles responded, “You’re vocalizing here
what everyone on the board and in the administration wish we could do.
But unfortunately we can’t be as selective as you’d like us to be.”

Following the end to public comments Superintendent of Schools Ileana
Eckert gave a presentation about the ongoing development of next
year’s budget. Currently 2012/2013 budget change is estimated to be
$7,702,989 over this year, which would make next year’s total budget
$201,525,130. This figure would keep the district within the tax levy
cap if the voters pass it.

The proposed budget combined with the transformation savings would
have the district cutting far less than if the proposed budget were to
fail. If it were to fail the district will be faced with an additional
$3,474,214 in budget cuts.

Following the budget presentation was a brief update about the ongoing
transformation of the district. Orientation dates have been set for
students who will be going into new buildings in September as part of
the transformation. The orientations will take place in May and will
be done during the school day, so parents need not worry about making
arrangements. Tentative dates for next year’s parent teacher
conferences are also set.

The board then turned to the items on the agenda. The board passed
unanimously a draft of next year’s school calendar. It is a
possibility that it will change, as this year so far four changes have
been to the school calendar because of recommendations from the state
board of education.

Then the board voted to officially close Gerald F. Neary Elementary
School and North Garnerville Elementary School as part of the
transformation project. Both motions passed unanimously.

These schools will officially close on June 30, 2012 at the conclusion
of this school year.

The board also passed a motion to rename Fieldstone Secondary School
to Fieldstone Middle School, James A. Farley Middle School to James A.
Farley Elementary School, Haverstraw Middle School to Haverstraw
Elementary School, and Willow Grove Middle School to Willow Grove
Elementary School. The motion passed unanimously.

Finally the board passed a motion to the grade level at several
schools to allow for the intake of those students being affected by
the closing schools. It passed unanimously.

The board will meet again for it’s regularly scheduled meeting on
April 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of North Rockland High School.