Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

March 11, 2010

LOCKPORT SCHOOLS: DeWitt Clinton targeted for closing; John Pound, for reuse

DeWitt Clinton and John Pound elementary schools could have their bells ring for the final time in June, as the schools are in serious jeopardy of closing this fall.

Superintendent Terry Ann Carbone announced that DeWitt Clinton would close and John Pound would be re-worked into housing universal pre-kindergarten, district records and the technology department. The moves are expected to save $1.2 million, just a portion of the $3.6 million in cuts Carbone revealed Wednesday at a Board of Education meeting at Lockport High School.

“These are not decisions we enjoy making,” Carbone said. “We will get through this, we will live within our means.”

Still, some audience members in the packed auditorium were not happy to hear it. Peter Robinson, who has a son in the first grade at DeWitt Clinton, called the school a gem of the neighborhood. Robinson said he is from the DeWitt neighborhood, which is on Clinton Street at North Adam Street.

“That is our identity in the lower ward, everything we hold dear, especially with out children,” he said. “You’re telling us perhaps you’re cutting our school. That’s all we have. And along with that, you’re telling us we still have to pay perhaps a 10 percent raise in our tax? And we still lose our school?”

During a lengthy public comment period, most who spoke were unhappy with either the school closings or an increase in the tax levy. Resident Karen Carroll said the board needs to remember the taxpayer while making difficult decisions.

“We can no longer pay increases in taxes just because we don’t want to make difficult decisions,” Carroll said.

“This is going to devastate the school district,” resident Michelle Roman said. “I want to know how many administrative positions will be cut. I haven’t heard one word about that. If our enrollment is so low, why do we keep adding more people at the board office? Why do you have an assistant to your administrative assistant?”

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