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Herkimer school district looks for ways to close budget gap

By Joleen Ferris

(WKTV) - In his fifth year of school administration, Herkimer Central School Superintendent Robert Miller has only ever known the struggle.

"Pretty much every budget cycle I've approached has always been about 'how do I close a gap?' " said Miller.

Even with a last-minute increase in state aid, his district is left with a roughly $250,000 budget gap.

"Probably at least five positions will be impacted by the budget. Teacher positions....We're hoping not to lose any positions completely, but some positions might be reduced to part-time," says Miller, acknowledging that the district runs the risk of losing teachers cut to part-time and stripped of benefits, as they may look for full-time employment elsewhere.

"We're standing behind our members, looking into things, and obviously we're concerned, because any cuts to programs are detrimental to our students," says Herkimer Faculty President Kristin Stallman. 

The district's predicament has students getting involved in the movement for more equality in state funding, especially for high-need districts.

"We're going to be having a mock funeral for the Herkimer School District that used to be," says senior Daniel Adamek, in regards to a cluster of events happening Thursday.

"I have a younger sister in school, along with other family members, and I want to see my family and my friends and people who may not have the opportunity to succeed otherwise to have a fair chance in life," says Adamek.

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