Rally held to keep Maybrook Elementary open
The vote to close Maybrook Elementary is delayed after hundred of parents, students, and community members rallied in support of their school. But Valley Central School District is still tasked with closing the more than eight million dollar budget gap. Our John Wagner has more.
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MAYBROOK, N.Y. -- "The school gives our community it's DNA, without it, we lose our identity," said John Lown, a Maybrook resident.
A famous proverb claims it takes a village to raise a child. Parents in Maybrook say, it takes a school to keep a village together.
"Everybody's going to have to move, Maybrook will be a ghost town without a school," said Kevin Crowley, concerned parent.
Declining enrollment and large reductions in state aid over the past five years has the Valley Central SD facing an eight million dollar budget shortfall. The superintendent believes they must consider closing their smallest school with 220 students to save almost a million. Kindergarten, athletics, and everything extracurricular sits on the chopping block.
"Removing art music, library from the elementary schools, I mean the problem is seven million dollars is a lot of money," said Richard Hooley, Valley Central SD Superintendent.
Parents say closing Maybrook Elementary is a knee jerk reaction that would stunt the village's future, rather than developing a longterm budget solution to prevent other closures.
"It's going to hurt the economic growth of the village and it's going to hurt the property values," said Dennis Leahy, Mayor of Maybrook.
Valley Central School District said making no cuts would result in a twenty percent school tax hike.
"It's just like a facade, the numbers aren't really making sense," said Crowley.
When you close the school, teachers get layed off, class sizes increase, student education suffers," said Lown.
The superintendent wanted to vote Monday to close Maybrook, giving the district and parents plenty of time to prepare. "You have events so parents can get used to the new school and you create an atmosphere where the transition is smooth," said Hooley.
By postponing a decision until April 15th, the school board asked for time to calculate clearly how many cuts it takes to bridge the eight million dollar gap.
"I think showing them on paper will be easier for people to understand, but either way there'll be the emotions of it," said Joe Bond, another parent.
"There's a big picture ahead of them, and closing the school should be the very last resort," said Pat Crowley, Co-President of Maybrook PTO.