Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

March 10, 2010

LOCKPORT: District to announce school closing, 're-purposing' today

A big crowd is expected at the Lockport Board of Education meeting tonight, where it is expected that Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone will announce the closing of an elementary school and the re-purposing of another.

Tonight’s meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the Lockport High School auditorium, 250 Lincoln Ave. The meeting was moved from the district offices on Beattie Avenue, the regular meeting place for the board in anticipation for a large turnout tonight, similar to the past couple of meetings, when supporters of a few schools have shown up — most notably from John Pound and DeWitt Clinton elementary schools.

Last week, district officials said the meeting had been moved to North Park Middle School before announcing the meeting had been moved again.

To help offset the financial hardships Lockport has to face with the 2010-11 budget, the district said last week it would be closing an elementary school and re-purposing another. The move is expected to save about $1.2 million. Carbone said Tuesday she has met with the staffs of the schools that could be affected if the budget picture doesn’t change.

“I felt it was appropriate to meet with the faculties beforehand,” she said. “And up until the last minute, I’m going to be looking for ways to avoid it.”

The district is facing a $3.9 million cut in state funding under Gov. David Paterson’s proposed budget. Rising costs add another $4 million to the cut, giving Lockport a $7.9 million deficit to overcome in the 2010-11 school year budget. There is little hope that any additional help is coming from Albany.

Board member James Gugliuzza said last week the proposed cuts were heart-wrenching for the district to make.

“Being a part of this board, even just for a few years, you watch it build up,” he said. “And there’s people who’ve been here longer, who’ve built it up and try to make it better. Then with a cut of a knife, it’s like a rope and down it goes, everything you’ve built up.”

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