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McNeill Requests Tabling of Grade Reconfiguration

Check back with Patch later for more updates on this board meeting. Because of the need to further investigate the impact of reconfiguration, McNeill recommended that the board table the issue

 

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Superintendent Mark McNeill addressed a packed room of more than 100 people on the current school budget plans.

“Last October, I presented a strategy for investigation, which included a grade configuration that moved fifth grade to Highview and third grade over to Miller,” said McNeill. 

Back in October, the grade reconfiguration was considered because it brought an estimated cost savings of $800,000 to the district. Read more about the reconfiguration in this Patch article. 

Check back with Patch later for more articles on this meeting

Reconfiguration

“The whole idea of grade reconfiguration as not an issue I could raise in February because there are too many variables involved and the time is needed,” said McNeill, He explained why he brought the reconfiguration issue to the board in October. It was to have enough time to investigate:

  • potential transportaion savings by changing building schedules
  • savings through staff reductions
  • savings through additional cuts
  • amount of reserves required to meet all necessary expenses

Since October, the district has:

  • Looked at staffing
  • Looked at the transportation program
  • Looked at other areas for cuts that do not negatively impact class sizes or programs
  • Considered the fact that under the tax levy limit, once something has been removed from the budget, it will be nearly impossible to restore it at a later date
  • Met with legislators for exclusions: No reduction when retiring bonds for capitol improvements; allow tax certiorari judgetments as an exclusion; No reduction for PILOTS such as the Shops at Nanuet
  • Reconfiguration remains an option for the future

“We looked at the transportation program. I can tell you that I don’t see the savings that was anticipated. We’re going to bring in a transportation consultant. We have to be careful with transportation. We have been successful with the companies that we work with. One year we went out for a bid and we got a company that did not serve the district very well so we went back to the company that we have now. We pay at a rate that’s more favorable than other districts in the county."

In regards to the bolded bullet point above, McNeill said that “with respect to grade reconfiguration, that’s a very significant decision to make given the fact that it could be permanent. Right now enrollment is where the grades are coming in at 165 (students) and the larger grades of 195. It’ll be interesting to see the trend of the district."

“They (the elected officials) are very much in favor of the dynamics that are affecting Nanuet,” he said. “they’re behind bills and legislation to create exclusions.” The district has been talking to Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Senator David Carlucci and Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski. 

"I do believe that there are savings, but I’m not going to make that irrevocable decision now. I think we need to wait. I’d like to investigate more in terms of transportation in particular," he said.  Because of the need to further investigate the full impact of reconfiguration, McNeill recommended that the board table the issue for the 2013-14 budget. 

Upcoming Budget Workshops include:

  • March 11—General support, buildings and grounds, transportation, benefits and revenue
  • March 12—Staffing and instruction
  • March 19—Total Budget Review (followed by a regular board meeting)

Related Patch Articles:

  • Future Nanuet School Budget: "Going to be Survival"
  • Nanuet School Budget: Possible Depletion of Reserves
  • Superintendent McNeill Explains Proposed Changes
  • Nanuet School Budget: Breaking Down the Numbers
  • Nanuet Schools 2013-14 Budget: $3.5M Budget Gap
  • Nanuet School Board: Federal Call to Action
Scott Walters February 06, 2013 at 01:18 PM
This sounded like a 'no brainer' to me...It appears that someone here might not be using his.... Here's another easy cost saving move,, though not on the order of $800,000 per year. Instead of having a principal for Miller and a principal for Highview and one assistant principal serving both buildings, let's have one principal serving both buildings and having one assistant principal for Miller and one assistant principal serving Highview. This is the normative model used in many other locations with more than one building with a K-5 setup, including where my wife works in NYC.
Maryann February 07, 2013 at 12:02 AM
When they took Highview back from BOCES, it was for grades 4 and 5. Fifth grade was taken from the Middle School to solve the overcrowding by taking it down to three grades and Fourth was taken from Miller to make room for full day kindergarten. A few years later, they took Third from Miller and put Fifth back in the Middle School. Now they want to change it BACK AGAIN? If it was such a cost savings, why did they change it at all?

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