Superintendent Ralph Napolitano will lay out merger plans tonight for the district’s elementary school buildings that will result in closing one of the four.
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The meeting is at Yorktown High School. It begins at 6 p.m. in closed session and opens to the public at 7.
Napolitano was charged by trustees with studying consolidation as a way to cut costs entering the upcoming budget season.
The plan would result in not only the idling of one of the elementary schools but the reconfiguration of the other three to accomodate the students who would be displaced.
“This proposal is the first step in developing a fiscally prudent budget that supports our philosophy of education, maintains excellence in our programs and provides staffing efficiencies,” Napolitano wrote in a letter to the community last week.
Citing an expected cut in state aid, Napolitano has announced a spending freeze on non-instructional items, including athletic scrimmages, conferences, equipment and supplies, field trips, overtime and staffing vacancies.
A projected districtwide drop in enrollment of 85 to 125 students — the sixth consecutive yearly decline — may make closing a building a viable option. The district would plans lease the space for income.
The news last week prompted a flurry of e-mails and Facebook messages among anxious parents.
District staff were to briefed on the plan today and will get a full presentation Tuesday.
The consolidation would be implemented this fall.
The district faces a $1.5 million increase in pension costs, declining state aid and the loss of $1.4 million in stimulus funding received last year. Before the stimulus, officials considered laying off as many as 21 teachers to balance the 2009-10 budget.
There is precedent for what the administration is proposing. The French Hill School on Baldwin Road opened as a kindergarten through fifth-grade school in 1970 and closed in 1978 due to declining enrollment. It housed the alternative high school for a time before it reopened as an elementary school in 1995.
Yorktown is not the only Westchester district confronting consolidation. Irvington is considering a merger of Dows Lane Elementary School and Main Street School, which educates fourth- and fifth-graders. The topic is on the school board’s agenda tonight.