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Options for cash-strapped district to be unveiled at Frankfort School Board meeting

By CAROLINE GABLE

FRANKFORT, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Frankfort-Schuyler Central School Board, as well as school district parents are waiting to hear new details Tuesday night about the district's future options when it comes to education.

State education cuts have left the district in a dire situation.

On Tuesday, the school board will learn more about two options they face when it comes to this year's budget. Option one involves drastic cuts to programs like art, music, and sports, while option two, the most talked about option, will shed new light on details surrounding the idea of closing West Frankfort Elementary School.

Students there would be moved to Reese Road Elementary School, and fifth graders would move to the middle school. On Tuesday, parents were ready to voice their opinion and the superintendent says he's fielding calls about both options.

"I encourage everyone to come out tonight to defend your children and stand up for them, because at this point that's what we have to do," said West Frankfort PTO President Amy Jacobs. "We have to stand up for them that our kids first and foremost are being taken care of."

"The West Frankfort School is more than just a school to people in that section of our community," said Frankfort-Schuyler School District Superintendent Bob Reina. "It's a focal point of out there and people are very attached to the school. We understand that, and a concern... if the school board adopts that measure an important people of the community could be missing."

A definitive vote on program cuts or closing West Frankfort Elementary School is not on the school board's agenda for Tuesday night, but they will be faced with choices soon as the school budget nears.

Thanks to state education cuts, the Frankfort-Schuyler Central School District is facing a $1.3 million budget short fall.

That has left the school board with tough choices.

On Tuesday night, the board is meeting to hear from parents and school officials about the possibility of closing West Frankfort Elementary School - a meeting getting underway around 7 p.m.

Superintendent Reina says he estimates closing the school would save the district $630,000, and staff layoffs are not out of the question. However, the district lost $1.3 million in state aid, so that difference is going to have to be made up somewhere through things like tax revenue and pulling money from the fund balance.

If the school closes, parents have concerns about everything from how long their their children will be on the bus to moving the fifth grade class to the middle school building. Superintendent Reina says that he's also analyzing the possibility of the school closing.

"Personally, I do not want to see our school close, absolutely not," said Jacobs. "But my mind tells me something is a little bit different with the economy, and the money and the area and I see that it's happening. Our schools are not the only one that's being affected."

"We've had to look at facilities, look at classroom space, and (see if) we will have the facilities to make this happen at both the Reese Road Elementary School and in our middle school," Superintendent Reina said. "And at this point it looks like we will. We will have enough classroom space available."

Tuesday night's meeting gets underway at 7 p.m. In the Frankfort-Schuyler High School auditorium.

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