Three Kingston schools proposed for closure
First year Kingston Schools Superintendent Paul Padalino has mapped out future plans for the district, and some residents may not be happy with them. Our Christian Farrell has the story.
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KINGSTON, N.Y. -- "We're looking at a complete overhaul of our district," said Kingston Schools Superintendent Paul Padalino.
Padalino delivered the news at a school board meeting Wednesday evening. He said the district's floundering finances leaves him no choice but to propose closing three elementary schools. Sophie Finn, Anna Devine, and Zena by the end of the 2012-2013 school year.
It's a move, along with shifting fifth graders into middle schools, that Padalino said will save the district $25 million over five years.
"We can keep our school buildings open, but if the fiscal realities come to fruition, we won't have any teachers to put in those buildings. We really need to look at doing things differently," said Padalino.
Under the superintendent's proposed plan, the Sophie Finn Elementary School would close. However, the building wouldn't be vacant for long.
That's because the Ulster County Government has plans to use it. More specifically, SUNY Ulster has plans. It's part of S.T.R.I.V.E., the "Shared Taxpayer Relief Through Innovative Visions in Education" project which partners the school district and the county together.
"Relocating us to a permanent site within 100 yards of Kingston High School is going to be amazing. It's going to give us so much opportunity to collaborate with the school system," said Don Katt, SUNY Ulster President.
"Rather than have a vacant building, rather than have a situation where there's a problem within the community, we have the capacity to bring stability where there would otherwise be instability. We're very excited about what this means," said Mike Hein, the Ulster County Executive.
A decision by the school board on the proposed plan is expected sometime before September.