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Liverpool Central School District faces $10.3M budget gap

Liverpool Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns, left, listens as school board member Pat DeBona-Rosier speaks during a board of education meeting Monday Jan. 23. Between them is board president Don Cook.

Liverpool Superintendent Dr. Richard Johns, left, listens as school board member Pat DeBona-Rosier speaks during a board of education meeting Monday Jan. 23. Between them is board president Don Cook. Photo by Sarah Hall.

— “We’re talking about millions of dollars in cuts, and I’m very concerned about what that might look like,” Balduf said. “Will cutting full-day kindergarten change and distort our programming as much as cutting something else?”

Cook echoed Balduf’s thoughts, noting that, while he didn’t want to cut back the kindergarten program either, it might be the least painful cut to make when the time came.

“I put three kids through this district, and they all went through half-day kindergarten,” Cook said. “I think they all turned out okay.”

In addition to asking about kindergarten, Johns also asked the board if they would consider closing an elementary school as early as the fall of 2012. When the Grade Reconfiguration Subcommittee made their recommendations last fall, it started the process that could lead to redistricting, if that was the path the board chose to follow. The Building Utilization Subcommittee is looking at that path right now, and, according to Johns, the earliest a building would close, according to that path, is the fall of 2013. However, some members of his administrative team have suggested closing an elementary building this fall as a cost-cutting measure. Johns estimated the savings would be less than $500,000.

The board more resoundingly rejected this idea.

“I’ve had my eyes opened to just how complex it’s going to be to try to do it right,” said board member John Kennedy, who heads up the redistricting effort. “In the work that I do, we always tell our clients, ‘Plan meticulously, implement rapidly.’ I think if we try to do anything by September of 2012, we’d be planning rapidly, and I can’t support it. Let’s do it right.”

Johns agreed not to include the closing of another elementary building in his budget proposal.

“Again, these are not things that I’m recommending,” he said. “They’re just things that needed to be discussed and that I wanted to bring before the board.”

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