As indicated in the lead of our year in review story, a lot of the top stories of 2013 dealt with the community dealing with issues that will shape the future of the Skaneateles area. The Skaneateles Central School District has been, and will continue to be, wrestling with several tough decisions. Hiring a new superintendent of schools is a big decision, this person be influential in a number of key fiscal and operational decisions in coming years. The new superintendent will also be the face of the district who is tasked with dealing with the public, a very important task in a community where people frequently speak at board meetings or even start online petitions when issues arise.
The district also faces some difficult decisions regarding its budget, the stresses of the Common Core Learning Standards and declining enrollment. The recent brainstorming meeting, at which residents suggested ideas such as moving grades around or outsourcing services, is one step along the road to a school being closed. If enrollment keeps declining like it has been, the district will need to close a school and maybe even merge with another district one day. These changes would have a large impact on the community, and some of the groundwork seems to have been laid in 2013.
Two of our top stories dealt with development projects that have been opposed by some members of the community. One of the platforms of the newly elected town officials was to work on the town comprehensive plan and zoning laws to protect the lake and the community from over-development and projects that would have negative effects. They also said the town should promote affordable housing to expand the local tax base and increase enrollment in the schools. Are these two goals at odds with each other, or can the board advocate for both interests? Whatever the case, the character of the community will be impacted by their decisions.