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New York News

Schools Face Tough Budget Decisions

By Dave Lucas

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-894025.mp3

Albany, NY – Months of economic turmoil have taken their toll on the State of New York and the Governor's budget proposal. Local school districts are experiencing a "trickle down" effect as we hear in this report from WAMC's Dave Lucas

School closings, staff cuts and tax hikes don't sit well with anyone. Two area school districts are in turmoil, and there will be casualties thanks to the lack of funding. On Wednesday night, Schenectady Schools Superintendent Eric Ely presented a $161.4 million school budget for 2010-11 which calls for nearly 50 cuts in the district's staff of 700 and a 7.5 percent tax hike for residents. 11 teaching positions would be eliminated through attrition. Board President Maxine Brisport gives a failing grade to suggestions the district halt it's Chinese language program.

Troy's School 2 is going to be mothballed unless the district there can secure new funding. Residents face an 11.08 percent tax increase in Troy's proposed 2010-11 budget of $95.65 million unless one of its six elementary schools is shuttered. Caroline Boardman, the public information officer for the Troy School District, says closing School 2 will save nearly 2-point-4 million dollars, but there is a chance that what officials refer to as a "new undisclosed" source of funding will save the day.

The budget decisions are NOT set in stone: The Troy the school board will vote April 12 to close School 2... IF that funding doesn't materialize. In Schenectady, the superintendnet has taken his proposed back to the drawing board. The public will a chance to sound-off: The next meeting is April 14 at Hamilton School.

Officials from both districts say they want what's best for their students, and vow to work toward that goal. Cuts are also under consideration in several other area school districts.