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Dominick: Stimulus aid a quick fix for J-E

"I was really afraid we wouldn't be able to access a lot of that special education money but it turns out we can," Dominick said.

The special education funding allows Jordan-Elbridge to move four teaching positions from the general fund to the new grant. Also, 15 percent of the funds will be used to transport preschool students, which should help the school's diminishing enrollment, Dominick said. Jordan-Elbridge had never bussed preschool students before.

Ironically, Dominick will be able to hire a part-time social worker for September through its special education program. The new teacher will help with career planning for special education students.

At a webinar last week with fellow schools in J-E's BOCES program, Dominick discussed sharing such a teacher with another school to split the salary cost. In general, the webinar assured the superintendant that all of the stimulus money allotted to the schools would reach its intended target. Dominick said she was concerned that large chunks of the $200,000 would be intercepted by the state government.

J-E will still lose two teaching positions. A declining population will eliminate a grant for one of the district's two preschool classes and a mentoring grant that boasted a part-time English teacher in the high school will disappear next year. Both teachers knew these grants would be eliminated, Dominick said.

The damage could have been much worse. Many young teachers at the school have been very nervous about the security of their jobs, Dominick said. The mood at Jordan-Elbridge has been dim since Gov. David Paterson's proposed budget in December.

"The concern was that we would suffer a major loss of revenue and jobs would be cut," Farfaglia said.

Relief has swept through Jordan-Elbridge; If only temporarily.

"We're really glad to say that the jobs being eliminated are the jobs whose grants are running out," Dominick said. "A lot can happen in two years. Hopefully, the economy revives and everybody's fine but it does concern me that this is a two-year money source that will go away."

Dunne is a senior at Syracuse University.

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